Recruiting in NCAA Football 06 is probably the main reason why we all come back and play it (besides the wonderful gameplay of course). Recruiting is the lifeblood of your program and EA done a great job of making this part of Dynasty mode both simple, deep, and fun to play.
Off-season recruiting is truly a game within itself. It is much deeper than In-season recruiting so it deserves special attention. I felt it was time to give you some of my tips and strategies on getting the best players to come to your school.
Before you read on, I always recommend you read Evil Dave’s Recruiting Guide since he covers the basics of everything really well. This guide is for NCAA 07 but it is no different than 06 and it has the ratings conversion table at the bottom.
Let’s get started!
Once the season is over, your first item of business is your school budget. You have to decide how to divvy up your percentage points between recruiting, training, and scouting. This greatly impacts how many points you can spend recruiting.
Now most will focus their efforts on recruiting first and fill in with the other two afterwards. I actually take the opposite approach. I start with discipline. Over the years I have discovered that the bigger punishment I send out (forcing my discipline bar to lower) the less discipline issues I have in the future.
When you start a dynasty, you are given a ton of (hidden) discipline points to use and I try to use every one of them. Whatever it takes to lower the bar the better since it pays off in the long run.
Therefore, the max percentage for discipline for me is usually 20%. As the years go by I will lower this to as low at 10%. Again. this all depends on how harsh you are when it comes to disciplining your players.
Now you move on to recruiting and training.
Recruiting and training go hand-in-hand for me. Keep it simple here:
- If most of your starters have left = majority points go to recruiting
- If half of your starters leave = split the remaining points between recruiting and training
- If most of your starters stay = majority points go to training
- If you need a total roster turnover (just need better talent overall) = majority points got to recruiting
- If you are short on the amount of players (well below 70) = majority of points go to recruiting
Managing your school budget should be common sense to most but the importance of it cannot be understated.
I can’t find a rhyme or reason to how much points you should give to persuade a kid to stay for one more year. I have seen their bar be really high and I put a ton of points on them and they still leave, and vice-versa.
Therefore, I give them the smallest amount of points possible until they make a decision. It seems the amount of points you spend on them has no bearing on their decision so I give them the lowest and see what happens.
Besides, these points come from your recruiting pool. I have spent 1 point on a lot of these guys and they decide to return so go figure. You have nothing to lose going this route.
I believe scouting is the most important aspect in recruiting. I want to mention scouting first before actually looking at players. Scouting gives you the precise information you need on any player you pursue.
I also think you should spend all of your time in week 1 on scouting so you can devote the rest of your last four weeks to finding pitches and offering scholarships.
I have signed too many 3 star players who turned out better than some of my 4 star guys to know how important scouting is.
Also (and I believe this is a glitch) but when you scout the game also thinks you pitched each player the Program Prestige pitch. This means that you offered them a “phantom scholarship”. You still have your allotted 25 scholarships to give out though. This saves you a ton of points of using this pitch down the road when it is already done it for you.
If you have scouted every player you wanted to scout and still has some points left over, then you can pitch and offer scholarships (more on this later). The bigger a priority you make of scouting, the greater the chances you have of signing great talent.
Later, once we will look at the perfect example of why scouting is so important and how it impacts other areas of recruiting as well.
Before you start spending points on any player, we must first decide on who to actually recruit. You may be asking yourself, “But Al, don’t you just recruit players who are interested in your school, you know, the ones with the green dots beside their name?”
Yes and No.
It seems obvious to only go after players who are on the “Interested Prospects” report, but you are missing out on so much talent out there that you still have a chance with.
Look at the image above. You will notice that the QB and MLB are “interested” in me by the green dots. But look at the ATH, DE, and HB. Their interest level bars are pretty high, even though I am not in their top 5.
Now look what happens after I go to week 2. The ATH and the HB now have me in their top 5 which means you have a much better chance of signing them. And all I did was scout them.
Now let me introduce you to that Athlete, Vince Hogan.
Notice that all I did the first week was scout him (see how important that is?) Most of his measurables went up and I’m now in his top 5. He is also from my school’s home state!
If this doesn’t convince to at least scout these “not-in-my-top-5” players than I don’t know what will.
The last thing about these guys: if they don’t put you in their top 5 after week 1, I think it is best to forget about them and focus on truly interested players from here on out. They are worth pursuing in week 1 but if they still won;t put you in their top 5 by week 2 then you don’t need them. There are plenty of other fish in the sea.
Now that you understand how important it is to pursue the “uninterested players”, all you have to do now is pursue the interested players of your choice. Here are the reports I look at the most.
- In-State Prospects – I start here since I like going after local kids and they are cheaper to recruit.
- Interested Prospects – Here you will find the rest of the interest prospects. You will do most of your dirty work here. Try to focus on your Pipeline states if you can while trying to establish new ones.
- All Prospects – Since this lists all of the prospects in order, you have no need to look at the Top 100. This is the best place to find those “uninterested players” we talked about earlier.
Most of this should be common sense stuff here so just go after who you want and adjust your current target list accordingly.
Speaking of going after players…
Pitches and Scholarships
After you scouted in week 1 its time to learn how I spend points the rest of the way. Let’s look at Vince Hogan again.
If there isn’t a “+” sign by any of the pitches you throw at a prospect, that means you have to throw different ones at them until you find the right one. In this case, Hogan didn’t care too much about Program Prestige. Therefore, I will try a different pitch.
If you don’t get anything from this section, understand this:
Unless you find the right pitch for a player, spend the minimum amount of points possible until you do so.
All that matters here is trying to find the right pitch. When the player likes one of my pitches, then I might go max with the points. Until then, don’t bother.
The only caveat is if after you have offered all the players, if you have some points left over (points don’t carry over from week to week) for that week then you can bump this up.
By using another pitch, you automatically give that player a scholarship, thus him going to your Target List (the scout glitch does this for you the first week).
Here is another great example of what scouting can do for you. Here is that HB who had us outside his top 5 but after scouting, not only does he have us in his top 5, but he also likes our Program Prestige pitch (remember the scouting glitch).
Here I will spend the max points and hopefully he will commit the following week.
Manage your target list
Unless you write a lot of this stuff down, your Target List will be your go-to report to keep up with your targets.
The Target list is great since you don’t have to go back to the other reports for your players, thus you can handle all of your maintenance process here.
Over the weeks, players will commit to other schools so when this happens go ahead and delete them from the list and go back to your reports to find other players.
Basically, let the Target list make your job easier, just for organizational purposes alone.
Discipline and Potential
When you scout prospects, you will find out their discipline and potential ratings. Pay more attention to potential since this truly correlates to how well they respond to their own play on the field as well as how they respond to off-season training.
Discipline has been a crap shoot for me. I have signed players with supposed excellent discipline yet get in trouble and vice versa. Since there is no rhyme or reason to it, you can probably ignore it.
If you are feeling froggy, do an experiment and track some discipline ratings for your players throughout your dynasty to see if the bad apples are consistently bad or not.
Recruit Athletes hard
Simply put, the best players I have ever recruited in my 10 years of playing this game came from the Athlete pool. I don’t care what schemes you run, athletes can play multiple positions and can change your program around in one season; I can attest to this.
When you scout these players, their numbers can jump all over the place. You can find 2 and 3 star Athletes who can truly make a difference.
Sometimes it is hard to tell what positions they are best at (besides QB, K, and P) but it doesn’t matter. If their stats are comparable to other players you have scouted, go after them hard since you never know what diamond in the rough you might find.
Again, Vince Hogan is the reason you go after players like these.
Fulfill your roster requirements
This goes back to the offensive and defensive play styles you picked at the beginning of your dynasty. You must fill you roster requirements or the game will add walk-ons to you team that you can’t remove from your roster.
Yes you read that correctly. You can’t remove walk-ons from your roster. Since these players are terrible (50’s overall), do what you have to do to fulfill the minimum. If that means signing a 1 or 2 star player then so be it. These players are much better than any walk-on added to your roster.
This is all I can think of as far as “in-depth” strategies that have helped me over the years. You guys have been playing these games for years and now how the process works but hopefully some of these particular tips might be of use to you.
Again, read Evil Dave’s guide since he covers the basics of everything.
This just scratches the surface of recruiting and over time, I will probably write a “part 2” on recruiting down the road.
If you have any questions or some tips of your own, please feel free to share that in the comment section.