Fort Valley State football head coach Donald Pittman is quick to admit that January is important for his football team, because that is the month that brings recruits on campus. For some of the recruits, it might be the only visit they make before signing in February. But is a part of the football process that Pittman still enjoys.
National Signing Day is Feb. 4.
“We have three huge days in January where we will bring up to 30 recruits to the campus, and it is very important that we can impress them,” said Pittman, whose team is coming off of a 6-4 season. “We will show them the athletic facilities, and they will go on campus tours, as well as talk to the financial aid counselors. They will also have a chance to talk to professors in their desired majors. We feed them twice and then later in the day, we try and show them some of the fun things that go on in our campus life.
“It is a busy day, but by the end, we hope that some of them will choose Fort Valley State.”
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Fort Valley State lost 15 seniors this past season, including linebacker LeRon Furr and defensive tackle Bernard Little, which makes those two positions very important to this year’s recruiting.
“First of all, we know that we can’t replace those two guys with freshmen, but we want to get the best athletes that we can,” Pittman said. “We feel like we are solid in certain positions, but this year, we are very focused on bringing in up to six offensive and defensive linemen and maybe as many linebackers. The coaching staff has worked hard to find quality players, and we feel good about the players that are considering us.”
Finding players for Division II teams like Fort Valley State is a little different than for a Division I program.
“We have alumni all over the country, and they will recommend players to us, but a lot of it still comes to getting to the high school games and talking to the coaches and players,” Pittman said. “We are always looking for the kids who can come in and help us right away, but there are still a lot of players that we take on potential.”
Despite having been involved in recruiting college players for more than 30 years, Pittman still enjoys the process.
“I really do enjoy the recruiting part of coaching, because I love to meet people,” said Pittman, who will be heading into his sixth season as the Wildcats’ head coach. “Signing day is only about a month away, so it’s very exciting to be able to get the players on campus. Hopefully, we can bring in another great class.”