UMass football: Recruiting doesn’t stop for spring practice


Staff Writer

Published: 04-13-2023 1:23 PM

AMHERST – Emphasizing the “UMass” part of UMass football has been key to the Minutemen’s recruiting efforts under Don Brown over the past year.

When he went out on the road after taking the job a year and a half ago, Brown would ask where UMass rated for recruits. They told him they’d never been.

“It was like we were in Australia. We've made a conscious effort to get many recruits to visit our campus so they get a chance to see the environment,” Brown said. “Here's my one sentence blurb: we get a guy to visit here, we got a hell of a chance to get him. That's just the way it's been.”

Brown and newly appointed recruiting coordinator Ryan Partridge are in lockstep about the strategy.

“When they get here up on campus, not only seeing this beautiful place, but seeing how the camaraderie between the coaching staff and the players, I think that's what's attractive to transfers coming here,” Partridge said.

UMass focused on explosiveness and experience when targeting its current crop of transfers, and the Minutemen aren’t done either.

“We have additions still coming,” Partridge said.

The turnover shouldn’t be astronomical, however. Brown wants to see where the team is at after spring practice to determine how many more they bring in and what those players look like.

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“We're kind of taking our time with the last few,” Brown said. “I don't feel like we're going to have the exodus like some other places.”

The goal going forward is to rely less on the transfer portal and build more through high school recruiting. UMass only signed six high school prospects this cycle compared to more than a dozen transfers.

“I do feel like we'll be less portal jumping,” Brown said. “There’ll be a happy medium there.”

That doesn’t eliminate the portal entirely from the equation, though. It also has created extra work and stretched out the recruiting timeline for coaches, as players are still committing and arriving through the spring and summer.

“It's new age college football with the transfer portal. It's essentially free agency. You gotta catch guys up fast and you got to recruit the right guys that can learn fast and that have had experience in the game,” Partridge said.

Brown proposed an update to the recruiting rules that would allow coaches to work more in line with the calendar: let them go out on the road and recruit during the spring. 

“In the winter, it’s too late. You don’t make any impact with those guys,” Brown said. “If you’re not on the phone and doing all that and bringing them to campus, I don’t get to see them. If they would move that and allow us to go out in the spring, now guys are making commitments basically all summer long, and by the time you get into the fall, there’s already a certain degree of guys that are already committed. It’s not rocket science. By the time December 1 comes (the early signing period), what do you want to say, 90-percent are committed? So why can’t we go out on the road in the spring and make an impact?”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.]]>