Believe it or not, Akron has already extended scholarship offers to about 15 high school juniors who will graduate and sign with their colleges in 2010.
The coaches start the process by using two search firms that scope players in their targeted regions. At this early point in the process, they pinpoint players they know will be worth a scholarship.
The downside is that BCS schools know the same thing. For example, none of Akron's early targets from 2009 ended up signing with the team. Patrick Nicely had such talent, but nobody knew it during his junior year, when he threw lollipops to make sure his receivers could catch the ball. (Once he started to show off his cannon arm, the offers came in.)
Here is part of Akron's early list...
defensive end, Solon
Offers: Akron, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State and West Virginia
Notes: Scout.com gives Baldwin four stars. Rivals.com
says he's one of Ohio's most recruited players. Baldwin is excited about getting interest from southern schools like LSU, but Ohio State was the first to offer. It sounds like he's heading for the Buckeyes.
Offers: Akron and Bowling Green
Notes: Several schools from the MAC, Big Ten and Big East are watching Rosenbauer. Akron has the early advantage by being the first school to offer. Size, speed and intelligence are his best attributes. He plans to pick a school late next summer.
athlete, Englewood, Colo.
Offers: Akron, Air Force and Colorado
Notes: You might be wondering why Akron is recruiting a Colorado kid. Well, Colter's high school coach is
Mike Brookhart, brother of the Zips' coach. He plays quarterback and cornerback in high school. Colter prides himself on being coachable and having a good arm and quick feet.
running back, North Canton (Hoover HS)
Offers: Akron, Cincinnati, Colorado and Kent State
Notes: Howard won Ohio's Mr. Football award as a junior, rushing for 2,387 yards and 31 touchdowns. He is hoping for an offer from Ohio State.
Jim Tressel said the offer will come if Howard improves his grades.
offensive guard, Trenton, Ohio
Offers: Akron, Ohio and Western Michigan
Speed: Not listed
Notes: Miller is hoping for an Ohio State scholarship, too. Scout.com believes he is one of Ohio's top linemen. He is big, strong and can move his feet.
defensive end, Trotwood, Ohio
Notes: Scout.com believes that more offers are on the way for Gibson, who has great athleticism and size.