State of the Program, Part 6: Recruiting

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Al Groh has been a tireless and effective recruiter.

When you hire a coach who’s been in the NFL the past 13 years, it’s impossible to know how good he’ll be at recruiting high school players. But Al Groh didn’t take long putting those doubts to rest. He reeled in the highest-rated haul in UVa history in 2002 and has compiled solid to superb recruiting classes ever since.

Groh has made recruiting – what he calls the accumulation of talent – arguably the highest priority for himself and his staff, and the results have been impressive. But he faces new challenges now and in the future on the recruiting trail. Over the next few years, he needs to recruit faster players. His in-state success rate probably must improve. And UVa almost certainly has to achieve more dramatic results on the field in order to attract better and better recruits.

Before we get into all that, let’s look at Groh’s general approach and philosophy when it comes to recruiting.

Recruiting 101

Groh makes no secret of how crucial he believes recruiting is in the college game. “I think the single most important item is recruiting,” Groh told Sports Illustrated a short time after being named Virginia’s coach. “It has become almost a separate sport. Coaches with schemes but without talent become coaches of unimportant teams. I want Virginia to be an important team.”

Al Golden was hired to coach the defense and reel in talent.

Because of that, Groh tackles recruiting with high energy and enthusiasm. He wants assistants with the same mindset, which is why a big part of his