Asked on ESPN’s Golic and Wingo what the biggest difference has been at ASU compared to past coaching jobs that he may not have expected, Edwards’ answer unsurprisingly focused on recruiting.
“Where recruiting has gone, this is almost like professional football when it comes to recruiting kids and evaluating these guys. It’s big. We’re already on the 2019 guys. After the seventh of next month, we’ve got six more guys to sign and we’re done and we’re working on the 2019 guys,” Edwards said.
When Edwards was hired, Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson (Edwards’ former agent) said Edwards would essentially serve as a CEO-type while overseeing the program “similar to an NFL approach using a general manager structure.”
Edwards said he has done that, setting up a “pro model” for evaluating prospects. But there’s more to the recruiting process than just player evaluation. That seemed to be a little different from what he may have expected after decades away from the college game.
“I basically came in here and set up a pro model of how we’re going to go about evaluating players. But the evaluation is the key here in college football. It’s not like in pro football. In pro football, it’s interesting because when you win, you draft last. In college football, you recruit. You have to go after guys,” Edwards said.
“I’ll tell you what now, you’re not only recruiting kids, sometimes you’re trying to recruit the parent, too. That’s what amazing. You have to stay in contact with these kids.”
“I’m calling these kids all the time, making visits, I’m all over the place and you’re asking an 18-year-old kid to come to your university and a lot of these kids have no idea why they’re going to go to your university. They don’t know. They want to be recruited. They want to know how many people are coming to their house, how many head coaches are calling them. It’s an amazing deal.”
Arizona State signed 11 players during the December early signing period and currently ranks No. 89 nationally in the Rivals.com team recruiting rankings. The Sun Devils are also second-to-last in the Pac-12 rankings, ahead of only Oregon State, a team that won just one game last season.
Edwards has a lot of work to do. And yes, Herm, that involves calling and visiting recruits. Their parents, too.
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