What Dan Mullen tells every recruit about the process

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Sunday February 19, 2017

While the football recruiting process brings up images of big celebrations for commitment announcements, the pressure the high school kids are faced with is understated.

Dan Mullen joined The Cube Show recently and was asked if he feels handcuffed in recruiting. But Mullen said he feels bad for a lot of kids, who either don't want all the attention or aren't ready for all of it.

“I think everybody handled the process differently,” he said. “I feel bad for some guys during the process. You’re talking about 17-year-olds that, all of a sudden, get attention, get hyped up. For them and their family, it’s very exciting. But with that fame comes responsibility. All of a sudden, the pressures of all of that start to get to them.

“It goes from, new, fun and exciting at the peak, to exhaustion. I saw one young man at the end of recruiting, he came in, I saw him, and he finally smiles. I said, ‘That’s the first time I’ve seen a smile on your face in about a month.’ He said, ‘It’s finally coming to an end. I can finally get this over with.’ It’s a hard feeling, the looks on these guys. Maybe they’re not prepared for all the hype or they don’t really want everything that goes along with it.”

Recruiting is now 24/7 for coaches, taking into account texting and social media. The workload on coaches has increased exponentially, but we don’t often view on that end for players. Recruiting websites write on all of the players, and it’s often their first real national media attention. It's often hyped and celebrated, but not everyone wants that. 

If you’re a top prospect, you get schools all over the country coming at you. Mullen said he gives all recruits a piece of advice on how to handle it.

I always tell young people this: Either you’re going to control recruiting, or recruiting is going to control you. One or the other is going to happen,” Mullen said. “If you control it, monitor it and say, ‘Hey, this is how I’m going to do it, these are the schools I’m looking at,’ guys that make a commitment and stand by it, they’re the ones that have a lot less problems, because they’re controlling recruiting.

“Rather than the ones that let recruiting control them, they’re trying to get offer No. 75 and look at 75 schools and open to everything. The pressure starts to build at the end for those young people, and they can start to struggle with the process.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.