Recruiting: It’s not just for college coaches anymore. Wooing your way to a better roster is practically a sport of its own.
ESPN The Magazine’s “Recruiting” issue on newsstands Friday, January 27, explores the various shapes the recruiting process takes featuring the nation’s No. 1 high school football prospect, Mario Edwards, who wouldn’t mind if he never saw another logo-emblazoned envelope; a pitch-by-pitch account how one team (the Angels) recruited the best bat (Albert Pujols) and arm (C.J. Wilson) on the free agent market; “The Mayor’s” group of transfers in Ames, Iowa, who had to endure the recruiting process all over again in college; and the daunting paths ahead for both Landon Collins, the No.1 safety from Louisiana who shunned the Tigers for the Tide, and Rushel Shell, a top-three running back who didn’t have much choice but to stay close to home after facing the biggest decision in his life – a decision which suddenly got bigger when he found out his girlfriend was expecting twins.
In addition, to shed light on which states and programs dominate recruiting, The Mag and ESPN.com’s Recruiting Nation combed through data from the past five years of ESPNU’s top 150 rankings. They learned that Florida can officially lay claim to the title of America’s football hotbed. They also learned that February signees don’t guarantee January trophies.
“Recruiting” Issue Features
And Then There Were Two
Rushel Shell is ESPNU’s third-ranked high school Running Back, Pennsylvania’s all-time leading rusher and a national record-holder with 39 consecutive 100-yard games. He’s also the expectant father of twins. A look at how this imminent family effects his decision: how coaches leverage babies when recruiting young fathers and how recruiters try to convince a teenager to leave his new family behind. By Molly Knight
Show Me More Than The Money
The Los Angeles Angels won (and spent) big this offseason when they signed Albert Pujols, arguably the best player in baseball, and C.J. Wilson, the best pitcher on the market. The Marlins were also courting both players and, in fact, offered them more money and perks. How were Angels owner Arte Moreno and GM Jerry DiPoto able to win the recruiting game? By Sam Miller
The Mayor Returns
In 2010, former Iowa State guard Fred Hoiberg, nicknamed “The Mayor” in his playing years, accepted the head-coaching job at his alma mater. The team went only 16-16 in his first year, but thanks to a few high-profile transfers, things might end differently this year. By Ryan McGee One Mother of a Recruiting Battle
Top recruit Landon Collins, a senior safety at Dutchtown high in Geisma, La., and his younger brother, Gerald Willis, a sophomore defensive lineman at Edna Karr High School, were separated after Katrina. But they could soon find themselves playing for the same team, thanks to scholarships already offered to both by LSU and Alabama. By Christopher Schultz
The Mag’s “Recruiting” Issue also features a photo act with some of the nation’s top recruits to find out how they will try to recruit other top guys to their schools including Mario Edwards, Jameis Winston, William Goldman, Trey Griffey, Deion Sanders Jr., and Joey O’Connor. Below are the online links to each video:
·Super Bowl Preview: The Stars will shine on Super Sunday, but the Big Game will be won by the team that knows how to plug its leaks. In preparation for the Super Bowl, writes The Mag’s Seth Wickersham, the best teams spend as much time figuring out how to cover up their weaknesses as they spend accentuating their strengths.
·NFL: For the Any Era project, The Mag polled 20 Hall of Fame members for their picks for the toughest active players. One big winner: Ndamukong Suh. A look at the thin line between dirty and tough.
·NHL:Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard currently leads the NHL in wins but wasn’t even listed on the All-Star ballot. A look at the league’s most unappreciated goaltender.
·The Truth: Howard Bryant looks at how this NBA season has exposed David Stern as not a player-friendly commissioner but, rather, a servant of the owners.
·The Fix:Chris Jones explores how being transported from obscurity in Phoenix to the biggest goalie contract ever, Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has struggled to find his footing and confidence in high-pressured Philadelphia.
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