Matt Rhule explains how he put together an entire recruiting class in 2 months
Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday February 01, 2017
When Matt Rhule became Baylor head coach in December, he had one commitment for the class of 2017. One. It was ranked in the 140s.
On Wednesday, Rhule and Baylor finished a class of nearly 30 players to squeeze into the top 40 rankings. Art Briles’ dismissal over the sexual assault scandal and the lame duck status of the staff essentially ended any real recruiting. Coming from Temple with no real local ties, Rhule inherited that.
“We didn’t have anybody who was committed. We didn’t have anybody who was on an official visit. We didn’t have a name, didn’t have a list, didn’t have anything,” he said on ESPNU’s Signing Day show.
Along with bringing some Temple coaches, Rhule hired three Texas high school coaches in various roles to kickstart the process from scratch.
“We brought some of the guys from Temple who I knew would be great recruiters. I knew the coaches in Texas would love them,” Rhule said. “Then we hired Joey McGuire, David Wetzel and Shawn Bell. They are tremendous representatives of the high school coaching fraternity down here.
“When Joey, David and Shawn say, ‘These are good guys,’ other coaches have bought into us, trusted us and allowed us to develop relationships with them.”
Rhule couldn’t change the situation, but he tried to take the positive out of it. That meant recruiting seniors instead of the process that begins with recruiting freshmen and sophomores and getting a final evaluation.
“They handed us a notebook, a laptop and a conference room and said, ‘Have at it.’ It was a daunting task, but a good one,” Rhule said on SiriusXM College Sports Nation. “One thing nice about it, in today’s age when you’re offering kids when they’re sophomores, we were able to watch kids in their senior year, see how they had developed and find good kids. It wasn’t easy, but we got it done, and I’m proud of the kids who are coming here.”
But the sexual assault scandal still hovers over everything. A new lawsuit alleges at least 31 players committed 52 acts of rape from 2011-14. Rhule has had a conversation about that every day, whether it’s with people at school or with the recruits.
Rhule told Fox Sports he doesn’t believe the NCAA will get involved, but he knows the lawsuits will continue. In this recruiting process and in the future, it’s something he can’t shy away from.
“I’ve had that talk about it every single day. It’s something we should talk about,” he said. “What happened here was wrong, and it was sad. Not even taking numbers into account, any time any young lady is assaulted, it’s wrong. We’ve had to talk about it. Something bad happened here. We’re going to learn from the past, but move forward.
“The kids on this team, none of them have been accused of anything. These kids are as disgusted by what happened as you are. You’re coming to a place that has great people, a place where the coaching staff, the athletic director, we weren’t a part of this. We’re seeking to be the change that needed to happen. We don’t want to just fix the problem, we want to be an example moving forward of how to do things right. We’ve addressed it, but we’re proud of the players on our team, the coaches here, and we believe in the future.”