December 19, 2013

A day in the life of D3 football recruiting

More news about: Berry

It's pitch dark outside, but Berry College Head Coach Tony Kunczewski is off to locate high school student-athletes for the Viking football team.

In addition to Coach K, four other BC coaches are on the road throughout the Southeast. As they prepare for the football program's second year, the staff is looking for the talented athletes--but also the type of young man who will succeed at Berry College.

"There may be six or so graduating seniors at a school looking to play college football," said Kunczewski. "But it's usually about one or two at each place who might be the right fit for us."

The Recruiting Season

From mid-November to late December, college football coaching staffs hit the road in this annual rite of passage. Early mornings, rental cars and fast food receipts are standard operating procedures.

Whether the program is NCAA Division I, NAIA or NCAA Division III like Berry, this is a vitally important part for future success.

"If you work hard and do the right things in December, your next season is going to be better," Kunczewski said.

Today Coach K is in Northern Georgia. Other staff members are in Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina and Alabama on this chilly December day.

"In most cases, we like to get an early start. If we start early, we can get back to Rome in the early evening. Whenever possible, I want our staff to be able to be at home at night."

The Right Fits

Recruiting is an ongoing process. By following the high school football season—an arduous task since there are many other duties during the Vikings' playing season—and building and maintaining relationships with prep coaches, the staff has laid the groundwork.

"The life blood of college recruiting is building good relationships with high school coaches," said Kunczewski. "Almost all of these men want the best for their kids. It helps their program to send players on to college and the coaches have an investment in their student-athletes and want the best for them."

Coach K and his staff will develop a list of potential recruits at each school. Due to Berry's rigorous admission standards, the pool can be limited.

"In most cases, we are seeking tremendous students who happened to be outstanding high school football players," he said. "We work the coaches to identify the best fits for Berry and our football program."

The High School Visit

Armed with a fresh transcript and video highlights for review, college coaches then prepare for an informal interview.

Each member of the Berry football coaching staff carries an IPad, which allows for a slideshow presentation about Berry College, and to be able to take notes and document information about each prospect.

Kunczewski is at ease in speaking to recruits, just like he is at a Rotary meeting or an on-campus event. Since he's done his homework, he's not exaggerating by telling a young man: "We like you and think you would be a great addition to our program and we'd like for you to visit Berry."

Berry College Visit

The coaches sing the praises of Berry College. It's the world's largest college campus, recently was named the top "up and coming liberal arts college" in the nation, deer out-number students two-to-one, impressive athletic facilities, nationally-recognized student work program, are a few of the key points.

"Our campus sells itself," Kunczewski said. "Getting a prospective student-athlete to one of our recruit days is important. Ideally, we have 12 or so prospects for each date. That gives the kid and his family an opportunity to ask questions and to meet other families and prospective student-athletes."

After the Berry College visit, the young men are in an opportunity to answer the big question: Do you see yourself being happy here the next four years?

Summary

Our visit took us through to five counties (Dawson, Pickens, Gilmer, Gordon and Whitfield), covered 273 miles and we met with 11 high school seniors.

In most cases, other football coaches from competing programs cross paths, but we were the only visitors to each school on this day.

"Today was a very good day," Kunczewski said. "We got to visit with every prospect and the coaches provided great insight."

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Endicott at Framingham State
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Kean at Christopher Newport
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
Live Stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Norwich
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
1:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Alfred State at William Paterson
1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Alma
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Olivet at St. John Fisher
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
1:00 PM
Hobart at Brockport
1:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
The Apprentice School at Methodist
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
Live Stats
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Westminster (Mo.)
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Live Stats
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
Live Stats
2:30 PM
Lawrence at Presentation
4:00 PM
UW-Platteville at George Fox
4:00 PM
La Verne at Puget Sound
Video Live Stats
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Averett
7:00 PM
Denison at Marietta
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Illinois College at Rose-Hulman
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
7:00 PM
Anderson at North Park
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats
7:30 PM
Hanover at Centre
8:00 PM
Willamette at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
8:00 PM
Sul Ross State at UT-Permian Basin
8:30 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
Dec. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 49, at St. Thomas 35
@ Salem, Va.
Box Score Recap Recap Photos