By Jay Winkler
College football recruiting has become big business at Albion College.
Expanded blog and Twitter coverage of recruits has given fans more outlets to discuss the future of their favorite teams than ever before. Top recruits are scrutinized from the time they first draw interest, and high school highlight reels are dissected and analyzed.
While recruiting at Albion is obviously not as intense as it is in Division I athletics, teams fight hard for the top athletes. Attracting players who are looking to balance their athletic interest with strong academics has always been a priority for Albion. The entire football coaching staff at Albion is involved in recruiting, and the compete with both MIAA powers and Michigan’s Division I-AA and II schools.
Dustin Beurer, recruiting coordinator and offensive coordinator, works year-round with his staff. By getting into contact with high school coaches and potential recruits, Beurer and his staff attempt to convey to them the advantages of choosing Albion College.
The process begins by soliciting high school coaches for players on their teams that they believe are right for Albion football. Beurer and his staff then tour high schools, discussing face-to-face the benefits of joining the Albion College football program.
On-campus visits are a productive means of attracting players to the Albion program, too.
“We typically invite them down for a game visit and meet with some of our injured players,” Beurer said. “They get to be on the field for warm-ups and get a meal in them. So they get their first glance at the college.”
From there, Beurer and his staff constantly follow-up with recruits, trying to bring them in for overnight visits and generally giving them a better feel for the football program. They interact with players and learn what makes Albion special.
Luckily for Beurer, Albion has many qualities he can sell to recruits.
“I try to sell the value of the education you’re going get at Albion, whether its from the alumni connections to the jobs placement rate to the average starting salary when you leave,” Beurer said. “We can sell all those things.”
For many recruits, one of the keys to choosing Albion is finding a balance between comfort with the football program and an interest in academics.
“I picked Albion because I felt like the coaches wanted me to be here,” said Joseph Mayone, Beverly Hills first-year. “I mostly picked it for the school, though. I knew it was a good school and I could continue to play football for a little longer.”
One challenge recruiting at Albion faces is an inability to offer scholarships. Many high school students look at the cost of Albion and immediately believe that it is not in their price range. Beurer tries to make recruits understand the resources available to them.
“One thing that hurts Albion is the cost, the initial sticker shock that parents and kids see without truly understanding how the financial aid process works,” Beurer said. “You really have to sell that.”
Most recruiting information cannot be officially announced until after May 1. However, even some Division III recruits have taken to social media to announce their commitments.
One such recruit is Ryan Trammel, an offensive lineman from Lutheran High School North in Macomb. Trammel announced his decision on Twitter last week, choosing Albion over Division II schools Wayne State and Northern Michigan, as well as NAIA Concordia in Ann Arbor.
Trammel was excited about his Albion recruitment from the first day.
“At first I was really happy about them talking to me,” Trammel said. “I knew a little about their football, and I knew that they were really good, always having great seasons and making the playoffs.”
For Trammel, Albion was a natural fit.
“I’ve always been in a smaller school so I liked that fact, and I really like all the coaches,” Trammel said. “So it was really an easy choice for me.”
While Beurer is impressed with Trammel and the rest of his recruiting class, the process is not quite over. While there is technically a May 1 commitment deadline for recruits, it is likely that the Class of 2013 won’t be complete until mid-May. There are still recruits on the board that excite Beurer and his staff.
“I’m pleased where we are,” Beurer said. “It could be one of those things where we’re happy where we’re at not but I’ll be ecstatic if we can get a few of these guys to jump in who are still on the ladder.”
Hopefully, the Class of 2013 can help the Britons win a second MIAA Championship and lead the way to achieving the ultimate goal: the National Championship.
This article was updated on May 2 2013, originally said “second consecutive MIAA Championship”, we took out consecutive as we did not win the 2012 MIAA Championship.
Photo courtesy of Ryan Trammel