The recruiting grind in college football truly never stops.
Landing the best college talent in the nation is a 24/7 business that often means coaches have to wear various hats — mentor, friend, coach, counselor, motivator, etc.
No one knows that better than Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt and his staff.
Tennessee’s coaches, over the last two years, have recruited well for a program that’s only won nine of their last 24 games.
One of the reasons they’ve recruited well is because the Vols have successfully adapted to the ever changing world of recruiting. Using social media and cell phones to connect with players is extremely important.
But one Vols assistant, while he’s adapted in certain ways, still has an old school approach when it comes to recruiting.
Tennessee defensive line coach Tracy Rocker is the epitome of “old school”. He’s a hard nosed coach who is straight up with players. And he doesn’t believe in superficial relationships just to land a recruit. What you see is what you get with Rocker.
Four-star Vols recruiting target Omari Thomas recently told VolQuest that Rocker believes in meaningful conversations about more than just football, adding “he doesn’t blow my phone up….he doesn’t believe in blowing you up”.
In a world where we’re constantly communicating with each other, it’s refreshing to hear that Rocker allows recruits to take a step back and breathe. The recruiting process can be intense and overwhelming. That’s why the NCAA has certain rules in place to make the experience less stressful for recruits. But most coaches push those rules to the boundaries, with some coaches using the rules more as a suggestion.
Recruiting over everything
Another example of Rocker being an old school recruiter with a ridiculous work ethic happened this week.
Rocker’s son, Kumar, pitched the game of his life for Vanderbilt in the second game of the Nashville Super Regional against Duke. The younger Rocker struck out 19 while pitching a no-hitter.
Vanderbilt freshman Kumar Rocker threw a 19-strikeout no-hitter tonight.
No MLB pitcher has ever struck out more than 17 in a no-hitter 😳pic.twitter.com/NXA8sz5UCL
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) June 9, 2019
And where was the elder Rocker?
He was meeting with recruits, while taking peeks at his phone.
Pruitt told WJOX in Birmingham on Wednesday that Rocker would be at the College World Series in Omaha next week.
Tennessee’s defensive line coach, however, told The Tennessean that he’d only fly to Omaha only if his schedule allowed it.
Family is important to Pruitt, so I’d be shocked if Rocker isn’t in Omaha next week.
But the fact that Rocker is willing to miss such an important moment in his son’s life shows that his commitment to Pruitt and UT is incredibly strong.
Featured image via Randy Sartin/USA Today