EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The end of one of the longest dead period in college recruiting history — due to the COVID-19 Pandemic — arrived at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, lifting all recruiting restrictions for both prospective student-athletes and coaches in all sports.
In other words, after 14 months, recruiting is back to some form of normalcy. Coaches can begin making in-person visits to a prospect’s home or school, the same way a prospect can begin taking official visits to college campuses across the country.
The dead period, which was extended eight different times, has been increasingly difficult for both sides of recruiting with different sets of challenges. The most notable, of course, was the fact that coaches could not actually watch the prospects play in person and the recruits themselves were not able to see campuses or facilities.
For UTEP head football coach, Dana Dimel, judging talent was not his biggest challenge. It was facilitating a personal relationship with recruits over virtual platforms and knowing whether or not a prospect has the “it” factor needed to play Division I college football.
“[Judging] talent isn’t near as hard. You can judge talent because you have a trained eye,” said Dimel. “The thing is what kind of personality does the player have. Does he have the football IQ? Does he have the mental fortitude to make it through what your programs demands of him? Those are the things you can’t see unless you get out and you see them get coached, you see them at practices, and that’s what this is going to allow us to do.”
Dimel is scheduled to hop on a plane at 7 a.m. on Thursday to return to the recruiting trail. UTEP opens fall camp in eight weeks and will play a “Zero Week” game at New Mexico State on Saturday, Aug. 28 at Aggie Memorial Stadium.