Growing praise for Tulane’s recent recruiting efforts aside, Fritz’s process has never wavered
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
That saying, while cliche’, can accurately describe Tulane football recruiting. The Green Wave has been on what many have referred to as a “recruiting tear,” landing players who in the recent past may have chosen a bigger school with a higher ranking from the recruiting databases than some of the others it has landed in the past.
The transfer portal has also been an area where the program has enjoyed significant success.
But when one asks head coach Willie Fritz what has caused this sudden switch, he doesn’t exactly see a reason. Not when it comes to Tulane’s methods, at least.
“We really haven’t changed (the way we do things with recruiting),” Fritz said.
Regardless, many of the players Fritz has landed lately have had success not only in comparison to some of the other players who have taken the field for Tulane, but to some of the best nationally at their respective positions.
“Take Sincere Haynesworth, for instance,” Fritz said. “Sincere is one of the top centers in the nation. I think he’ll be with a pro team next year. There weren’t many teams recruiting him.”
Quarterback Michael Pratt has received accolades as one of the nation’s best heading into 2023 season. The Boca Raton, Florida native is one of Fritz’s biggest success stories after Pratt caught little attention on the recruiting trail.
“There are probably other schools who act like they offered him back then, but they didn’t. So, we really try to find guys that fit our profile, bona fide Division I student-athletes with character,” Fritz explained. “We have to have the student part. We’re not like some other schools where you just have a pulse and then you play. All of these guys are outstanding students as well.”
When it comes to finding diamonds in the rough like Haynesworth and Pratt, Fritz has certain characteristics he looks for that have never wavered. It doesn’t matter where he’s coaching or what level of success the team is having, either.
“Each position is different as far as what you’re looking for,” Fritz said. “There’s a lot of position where speed is the number one thing we’re looking for. We’re a fast football teams. (It’s shown in the) wide receivers, defensive backs, the linebackers, the defensive ends. It’s interesting, we had some guys who came to visit us in the spring who were catching the interest of some big schools. A couple of them grabbed me and told me we were a lot faster than they were.”
While highlight videos on websites like HUDL may be all the rage on social media and message boards, it only shows certain aspects of a prospect’s game. Fritz and hi coaching staff spend minimal time diving into that type of material to hype players before hitting the road for real-time in-game action to really gain a feel for a potential recruit.
“I watch highlight tape just to spark my interest and then it’s all game tape after that. That’s all I look at. I think that Wes Fritz, Donn Landholm, they do a tremendous job. We have a recruiting office that leads us in recruiting.”
Fritz views the recruiting process in a way that should involve the office above all else.
“The position coach for each respective position is very involved as well. That’s probably a little different than some other schools at our level where the position coach is the lead guy or the coordinator. Yeah, I’ve got a lot of coaches. I want to have guys playing for me that I recruited and that Wes and Donn did, not some guy that’s not here anymore.”
At the end of the day, Fritz views the way some people are suddenly touting Tulane’s recruiting process as being late to the party, rather than it being a case of some sudden, major upward shift.
“It just so happened that I guess other people kind of agreed with our synopsis of some of these guys. Since we had a great season, a guy who was maybe a two-star all of the sudden, he commits to us, and he pops up to a three-star. Or he’s a three-star and then he comes to us and pops up as a four-star. That’s how it kind of works.”
To Fritz, the same mantra has held true for years.
“We just kind of do it the way we do it.”
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Crissy Froyd is a sports reporter of roughly nine years who graduated from LSU and has spent time at USA TODAY SMG, NBC Sports and the Fan Nation network on Sports Illustrated. She specializes in quarterback analysis and covers the SEC and college football across the state of Louisiana in addition to working with several college quarterbacks across the nation.