As many know, Nevada Wolf Pack recruiting has been less than stellar so far, and with National Signing Day fast approaching in February, it’s time for head coach Chris Ault to go rogue with tactics.
I discussed the effects the 2010, 13-1 “Dream Team” had on the influence of commits for the 2011 class in my article last week on Mountain West Conference final standings, but unfortunately, the past two seasons have created a decline in recruiting for the Pack.
This is a sensitive subject at the Cashell Field House at the University of Nevada, Reno, but former Wolf Pack phenom QB Colin Kaepernick, and his national exposure during the San Francisco 49ers’ monumental 32-7 win on Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears, might be that out-of-the-box tactic the Pack needs.
Not only was Jon Gruden continually referring to the university and Kaepernick’s performance at Nevada, former explosive Pack players were laterally highlighted.
The most dynamic referral, was highlighting how schools overlooked Kaepernick, putting Nevada, and Ault in a unique position to be the solo school offering a scholarship, and take a gamble – a gamble that resulted in four consecutive years of NCAA smashing records, and 10,098-yards, 82 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions for the QB.
Nevada currently ranks 116th in recruiting, with two commits: 3-Star ILB Alec Moreno from Poway High School (Poway, CA) and QB Isaac Dotson (Newport High School, Newport Beach, CA).
There are two 4-Star undecided athletes, including the No. 264th player on the ESPN 300 list, DE Austin Hooper (De La Salle High School, Poway, CA), and OLB Johnny Ragin III (Wilsonville High School, Wilsonville, Oregon) who recently took a trip to visit Colorado. Ragin III also has offers from Brigham Young, Oregon State, and others.
There are obvious factors against Nevada, including recruits questioning Ault’s yearly retirement rumors, and a defense with a sub-par performance this season.
49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh’s verbiage during the MNF post-game press conference indicated that yes, there was a QB battle with Kaepernick and Alex Smith (concussion), but Kaepernick was the front-runner.
If this exposure continues, I see no reason for recruiting not to take flight. While a team might be in a decline performance-wise, recruits envision themselves being that standout player who makes moves.
I truly believe that the more Kaepernick plays, the more these prospects will be enticed by the records and want to play hero. How the coaching staff, and recruiters decide to utilize this exposure is entirely up to them, but what Nevada is doing isn’t working.
A win over Boise State at home on December 1, and Nevada’s 2011 NFL Draft second rounder lighting it up in the league, might just be what the program needs to pull this recruiting class off.