Randy Taylor made an impact in college recruiting for 30 years, as a recruiter and recruiting coordinator at UCLA, Illinois, Minnesota and Nevada-Las Vegas. As the chief organizer of UCLA's recruiting in 1999, he helped to sign the No. 1 class in the nation.
Now Taylor is the recruiting coordinator for Chicago-based National Collegiate Scouting Association. Since he walked away from college football, he has formed some riveting opinions about the recruiting process that should be of interest to the media, high school and college coaches, athletes and their parents and anyone interested in the game.
"The more I see how the early commitment is being used and abused," he said, "I would definitely want to establish an early signing day for football. It should be either at the end of June so prospects can go to camps and commit afterward and follow the spring evaluation period so college coaches can check out academics."
Taylor also said there should be a contact period added to the spring. July will still be a much-needed slow month for college coaches. But if a young man has made up his mind, why not allow him to end the recruiting process? It would be a money-saver for the colleges, prevent other schools from badgering the athlete and allow the prospect to enjoy the summer and concentrate on his senior year.
"Another option is the first week of November as players could take official visits during September and October, then sign," he said. "This is my second choice, however, because it still means the prospect gets harassed by coaches and Internet sites during the fall."
Leaping into a subject not often discussed, Taylor said the editors and writers of Internet team sites are abusing rules at the request of college coaches and recruiting coordinators. The liaison to the unofficial team website is asking the site editor to call prospects to dig for information and help to recruit players.
"For example, a prospect takes an unofficial visit to an opposing school. The coach has the Internet writer call the recruit to see how it went. The same goes for an official visit to the coach's campus," Taylor said.
"Or a kid commits so the other school has the site call to see if there's still hope that he will change his mind. During non-calling periods, the coach has the site call and get information and pass it along. Site representatives will negatively recruit other schools. The Internet sites are great at finding out secrets like home visits and offers.
"The sites also will publish misinformation for schools. Recruiting coordinators and coaches call the sites as soon as a kid commits so it gets on the Internet as soon as possible. Schools give the sites phone numbers of prospects so they can call them. Everything a prospect tells an Internet site is passed on to the coaches.
"A prospect is attending a game or practice or making an unofficial visit so the coach or recruiting coordinator calls the site so they can come in and interviews the player and take photographs. If a college coach thinks he can keep a secret about recruiting, he is mistaken. The prospects and Internet sites talk to each other too much.
"Finally, the rule restricting an unofficial visit from being in conjunction with a camp is a terrible rule. It just causes the family to pay for a hotel if they are from out-of-town or go home the day of the camp and come back the next day. It also is a rule that is broken all the time. Prospects are offered regularly during camps without any consideration of this rule."