Coach's Corner: Understanding What Recruits Look For

Coach's Corner: Understanding What Recruits Look For

Each Monday, will chat with Head Football Coach Ed Hottle and his staff to fill you in on what it takes to start a collegiate football program...


Issue 1, 1/10: Stevenson Football Tackles Recruiting

Issue 2, 1/17: Why You Need to Be a Mustang

Issue 3, 1/24: From the Helmet to the Headset

Issue 4, 1/31: No One Dominates Like Stevenson

Issue 5, 2/07: Finding Players Who Will Love Getting Dirty

Issue 6, 2/14: Getting Everything Covered


Jesse Correll. Clayton Beard. Dustin Johnson. Phil Hamilton. Antoine Burrell. Joe Battaglia. Together, these six coach positions all across the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, helping to build something unique in Owings Mills. And they’ve all graduated from their own playing days within the past few years.

While a portion of the Mustang coaching staff has been coaching for longer than a few years, it is never a bad thing to have some other younger coaches help to bring the same level of excitement that much of the surrounding community has for the start of the program.

“With me, I was sitting in their chair five or six years ago,” says Hamilton, the quarterbacks coach, about the recruits. “They look at me like well, he actually knows what it’s like to sit in this chair and have to listen to all of these different schools and compare them really quickly. Being as young as I am, I know kinda what they wanna hear, but also what they have to hear in order to make a better decision on where they’re supposed to go. I think they establish a trust a little bit quicker.”

For Hamilton, a native of Davidsonville, Maryland, his area connections were a major advantage in recruiting. He spent the past few months going through New Jersey and Philadelphia, but more importantly in Prince George’s County and Anne Arundel County where his own experience and knowledge of the state helped to attract recruits in the area. For the past few years, Burrell has been firmly entrenched in Baltimore’s Pop Warner Leagues. And Johnson knows the city of Baltimore as well, having played college football there. In some instances, the coaches are young enough that many of the players they are recruiting can recall watching them play.

But don’t mistake youth for inexperience either. Correll has already developed a reputation as an innovative offensive mind, having put together many high-scoring offenses. Johnson was recently a football player at Stevenson’s conference rival so he can stress to recruits that the greatest strengths of other conference schools pale in comparison to what the Mustangs can offer. And Beard specializes in building great offensive lines by focusing on the little things, the stuff that can make someone great whether they are big or small. He was a part of some explosive offenses during his playing career.

“When I played, I was never the biggest or the strongest guy but I knew exactly where to go and how to get there,” he says. “The footwork in learning that and trusting their teammates is really what’s going to make these guys good. That’s the hardest part to teach.”

Enthusiasm for the start of the season in September is dripping out from Owings Mills. It helps to have coaches that are ready to start putting their fingerprints on a college program. And it doesn’t hurt when some of them can balance that line between relating to 17-year old recruits and having the experience to outcoach the competition.

That electricity can’t really be mimicked and recruits can feel it when they step foot onto campus.

“When they actually come here and see what we have to offer and that I was telling them the truth and everything I said was actually real, their eyes widen,” Hamilton says. “They get real excited. Every (player) that’s come here, when they leave have said, ‘I love it.’”

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