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How recruiting has changed for Michigan Football during pandemic

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Recruiting has changed for Michigan due to the COVID-19 pandemic

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Citrus Bowl - Michigan v Alabama Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

College football recruiting is a year round and never ending process, even during a pandemic. Although recruits aren’t able to take visits to campuses, they’re able to speak with coaches on the phone and on video-chat platforms.

Michigan Wolverines director of recruiting Matt Dudek spoke with WTKA 1050 AM’s Sam Webb on Wednesday about the new process for the program and U-M hit the ground running communicating with recruits via phone conversations and FaceTime.

“I think we did an excellent job of first, getting guys on the phone with coach daily, getting them on the phone with their position coach daily, adding other variables like the weight room and nutrition and academics and player development and getting them on the phone, but more than just the phone, FaceTime. Having that face-to-face contact because visits are a really different mode of communication. It’s not to say we wouldn’t be doing the text and the phone call and communicating and building relationships, that we wouldn’t be doing this if it was a normal time, but it would be different than how we were doing it.”

Dudek mentioned that defensive coordinator Don Brown is now doing chalk talks from morning to night and teaching recruits football, something he normally wouldn’t be able to do this time of year. “If he was on the road right now, literally today he wouldn’t be teaching guys football. They are seeing his style of coaching, so it’s been really good for us,” Dudek said. “I think it’s been really good for others as well, but it’s a whole different relationship, a whole different strategy that I think lends well to Michigan and Michigan’s staff.”

The recruiting dead period has been extended until June 30, which has Michigan shifting how they go about their business. The adjustment in recruiting goes beyond communicating virtually, programs aren’t able to get all the measurables and recruit information they normally would at this time.

“Having that all taken away, and then now, having the spring recruiting, so when you go the road for your two visits in the spring and that’s about getting evaluations done. That’s about grabbing transcripts. That’s less about seeing and talking to the kid because you’re not allowed to do that in schools in April and May, but you are allowed to talk to their teachers and talk to their coaches and talk to their principals and, see them lift or see them spring practice or run track,” Dudek said. “So, eliminating that evaluation, and along with all of our exams to go on the rivals and the and the Adidas and the Nike and all those camps, that where you’re getting verified heights, weights, speed, all those things are now not in play.”

Even with obstacles in their way Dudek feels the way Michigan’s coaches have been able to spend more time talking to each individual recruit is a major positive. “The number of those types of interactions and the length, the amount of time that coaches can spend with each guy seems to be at a higher level. It really feels, at least to me, feels like with guys not being able to be on campus, while that is detrimental to the recruiting process, the opportunity to spend more time with them on FaceTime would seem to me to be kind of beneficial,” Dudek said. “I hear more guys talking about how much time they’ve gotten with Coach Harbaugh, for instance, recently, and it feels like you have a lot of guys in the recruiting process getting an even better feel for it.”