‘It’s going to be crazy:’ As in-person visits return, college football coaches ready for flood of recruits

For more than a year, health and safety protocols have prevented programs in the Football Bowl Subdivision from conducting the in-person evaluations so essential to compiling team-specific recruiting boards — the tiered, by-position ranking of prospects in a given recruiting cycle.

Amid the unique circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic, the awkwardness caused by an inability to hold face-to-face meetings for most of the 2021 cycle was mitigated by several factors. For one, prospects in the 2021 class had been able to make unofficial visits to FBS campuses during the previous year, including up to the moment when the NCAA placed a moratorium on all visits as a result of COVID-19. In addition, every 2021 recruit had been able to provide game tape from an unabridged junior season, a luxury not afforded to many prospects in the 2022 cycle.

"The in-person piece of it is a big deal," said Nebraska running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Ryan Held. "We’re a little bit behind, all of us are. But everybody is on the same playing field when it comes to that, so it’s not like anyone has a competitive advantage."

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