Coach's Corner: Stinson Dean 7/22
By Stinson Dean
My name is Stinson Dean, quarterbacks coach at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kan., and I’m thrilled to contribute to PrepsKC. As a former high school football player in the area, I can appreciate the publicity and quality coverage given the Kansas City Metro football players by PrepsKC. After being exposed to high school football around the nation through recruiting, I am confident that Kansas City has a great tradition and very strong football. I believe in Kansas City football and loving the chance to be apart of it again. I am looking forward to contributing to PrepsKC and keeping up with the latest on Kansas City high school football.
In college recruiting every prospect must be fully vetted. The scholarship investment after five years can be can be upwards of $100,000. Not to mention coaches’ job security, winning incentives and championships.
I’m relatively new to recruiting, but from my understanding the typical process used to only involve phone calls, in-person visits and conversations with adults in the prospect’s life. These conversations with the prospects coaches, teachers and mentors create a profile for who they really are…their preferences, beliefs, likes and dislikes.
After getting everyone’s take on a prospects character and ability, the recruiter makes his best guess (which, turns out, is all recruiting is anyway) if the athlete will translate to college football. Now, I can get all this information straight from the source, the prospect himself. And a lot of the time, he doesn’t even realize it.
As a young coach, using new mediums to gain access to recruits is very normal to me. Facebook.com is absolutely phenomenal for recruiting. With Facebook abandoning any sense of privacy for the user, most default settings for profiles make them public for anyone to find. These public profiles make up the vast majority of high school prospects. It seems like every name that comes across my desk has a profile and more than half are public. Additionally, prospects will “add” me, giving me full access to their profile.
Now I have access to almost everything I need including cell numbers, graduating class and most importantly…the wall. I’m able to tell what type of kid I’m dealing with. So often, these high school athletes don’t realize they’ve just opened the door to someone who could impact the rest of their lives.
This shouldn’t be a bad thing for either party. They get a glimpse of Stinson Dean, instead of Coach Dean. I get hints on what’s important to them, and the type of maturity and focus a prospect has. The connection makes it easier for both parties to let their guard down and have a more genuine recruiting experience.
Of course I don’t forget I’m recruiting 17 to 18-year-olds, and I take what I find on there with a grain of salt. However, as they’ll learn when they start applying for jobs as a college graduate, don’t let some pictures and quotes on Facebook be a bad first impression.
Football players are held to a higher standard in every way. They need to have their Facebook pages cleaned up as if it’s a non-traditional “about me” on a resume. Most high school students aren’t held to this standard. This is one of many small sacrifices a high school athlete should make if he is serious about playing college football. That being said, the prospect shouldn’t lose the freedom and personality a Facebook page can have, but screen their wall for anything inappropriate. If you’re a prospect, then you’re always being evaluated.
Finally, if I can gain access to a profile, so can others. This can lead to embarrassing photos, quotes, comments and preferences being broadcast to the entire Internet out of context. Especially for high profile recruits with super-fans of major colleges wanting the latest on their school’s recruits and rival college’s recruits. It comes with the spotlight, but there are just as many people waiting for a mistake in the form of a picture of under-age drinking, as there are people who want to see you succeed.
My advice is recruits should use their page to their advantage. Show maturity in what is posted and just use the status update to tell how many times you benched 225 that morning and you’ll be fine.
Stinson Dean is currently the quarterback coach at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kan., and played high school football for Blue Springs from 2000-2003, winning championships in 2001 and 2003.
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