As I once told Kevin, what makes NCAA 2008 so awesome is that the offseason essentially lasts all season. Recruiting is fundamentally different from Madden or any other football game; you get players for free on guaranteed four year contracts, but they leave after that with no way of resigning them.
The recruiting video doesn’t help a whole lot; it gives you the basics of the system, but not how best to take advantage of that system. I will present you, the reader, with some of my tips to build a better team.
1. Prestige is everything
Prestige, specifically school prestige, is what determine a recruit’s initial interest in your school. Although you can theoretically recruit anyone, it’s a lot harder to recruit somebody who isn’t interested in your school to start out with. You can manufacture prestige if you’re a good school in a bad conference (i.e. Akron, like my season), but it’s much harder to do it with a bad school in a good conference (sorry, Northwestern fans). Winning conference championships and bowl games help boost your prestige; hell, I went from 4 stars to 5 stars (out of six) by getting reamed by Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl. 1 star recruits will play for anybody, but starting with three star recruits and up, they get a lot more picky.
2. Keep your board clean
Yes, you can recruit up to 35 people at once; this is really, really stupid. You only have 25 scholarships, and you’ll never get to 35 athletes in one week. Start by recruiting your top athletes and work your way down; it will take less effort to sign a four star recruit than a five star recruit.
3. Don’t let up
Keep talking to recruits until they sign or until you know they’re gone. I’ve had people yanked out from under me on a soft commitment because I didn’t push it hard enough.
4. Schedule visits strategically
These are the best way to get apathetic recruits really interested. Schedule visits during rivalry games or other really good matchups. The better a prospect, the earlier in the season you generally want him to visit; the longer a prospect doesn’t commit, especially 5 star recruits, the better chance he will go to another school. When you’re building your preseason schedule, make sure to schedule a couple of teams in the top 25. These will be prime recruiting dates.
5. Don’t go for all the pitches in one week
You are only really concerned with three pitches; the most pitch and the two very highs. If you schedule a visit, you’ll get a clue to one of those three. Recruits will get bored if you spend the first week asking about every pitch; plus, you’ll spend way too much time on too few recruits. Start with the thing your school is best at and work your way down.
6. Use sways with caution
If a recruit is close to signing with another school, then you can try to sway pitches; remember that there are a limited amount of potential “highs”, so don’t sway an above average category unless you don’t want him interested in it.
7. Promises are key in the offseason
Make promises you can keep. This is another reason to pick a good school in a bad conference; you can promise conference championships. Significant playing time is a big winner too. Winning records against your rivals are nice. NEVER promise a national championship; there’s too much that can go wrong. Promises are the only way to get your foot in the door, so to speak, with a five star recruit at the end of the season; you’ll pique their interest enough that you can at least get them to listen.
That’s all for now. Questions are welcome; drop a line in the comments section.