The most difficult part of recruiting is determining a player’s motivation to improve. A player must get significantly better in college than he was in high school, and some players are more dedicated to the process than others.
“There’s different ways to try to find that out,” Cal coach Justin Wilcox said. “Sometimes is as simple as that: ‘What do you love about football?’ And just talk to him. And talk to people, and talk to their coaches, and opposing coaches and people in the building, the math teacher. And you still . . . they are human beings and they’re 17 and 18 and they change.
“But I would say you spend as much time trying to figure that out. It’s not even debatable, you spend more time trying to figure that out, because the other things are pretty tangible. . . . but, is he going to grow or not? Parents and you make an educated decision.”
“Now here are these other things – the character, the competitiveness. Does he really love football, or does he like football because he gets a lot of retweets?”
Those things are difficult to determine, but Cal coaches – and other coaches – try to make those evaluations, which is why one player who is highly rated on the recruiting websites might not be of interest to Cal, and vice versa.