If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can see how USF is marketing this here.
The tl;dr is: USF is co-hosting a football camp with Michigan on Saturday on USF's campus. This is just another part of the saga of satellite camps, which you can get a good primer on here.
That certainly sounds weird, and jokes about Willie Taggart being the lost Harbaugh other son aside, is this a good idea? How will USF benefit by this? Nowhere else on Michigan's camp Summer Swarm Tour is being hosted by another FBS school, so why should the Bulls do this?
So we checked in with someone that knows a lot more about recruiting than we do: Josh Newberg from Bulls247.com. He's not the only recruiting guru we asked about this, but they all said the same thing: that USF is being forward thinking for allowing this to happen, and that it will get even more talented kids exposed to the USF campus, coaches, and facilities. And that this is a good thing for the Bulls.
Our Q & A with Josh is below:
1. So we've heard concerns about this USF & Michigan camp. That it's making USF look like a second-rate school. That we're allowing another P5 school to get access to Florida talent. That we're devaluing USF while increasing the profile of Michigan while on our own campus. Why is this perception wrong?
Why does perception matter?
That's the problem. Those inside the offices (not the coaching staff) at USF should be more concerned about evaluating and recruiting. When the season starts and fans are in the stands, how many are even going to know that USF and Michigan hosted a camp over the summer together?
If people don't understand that the landscape of recruiting has changed for USF, it's time to wake up. Luckily Taggart and his staff have realized this and are doing something about it. This is creative and it's necessary, like it or not.
2. How many more kids will attend this camp because of the co-participation, and will we see any that are in USF's recruiting wheelhouse than we would otherwise?
I don't have a list of names or an expected head count. I'll be there Saturday and report back.
But I did talk to Ricky Sailor of Unsigned Preps. Every year Ricky takes a group of kids on a bus tour around the Southeast to hit different colleges and give kids an opportunity to take some visits. Yesterday, Ricky told me the first stop on the bus tour is to USF. This is the first time he's ever brought his bus of kids to USF. I don't think it's a coincidence that he's bringing them this year.
He sent me a roster of names. There will be 80 kids from the Tampa Bay area at USF's camp on Saturday. Of the names on the list, there's probably 2 that are Michigan prospects. There are probably 10-12 that currently hold a USF offer and another 20 or so that USF would like to evaluate further.
This is great for USF. I fail to see any downside.
3. Besides getting more kids that might not have gotten on USF's campus otherwise, what are the other benefits of hosting this camp for the Bulls?
The benefit is getting a mass amount of kids on campus to evaluate and recruit. Visits are key in recruiting. Getting the opportunity to host the younger kids (2017 & 2018 prospects) will pay off down the road as well.
Those that are concerned about this are completely misguided. If you think Michigan and USF are swimming in the same recruiting pond, you are sorely mistaken. At most, Michigan would probably sign 2 kids from the Tampa Bay area. They recruit nationally and do well in their home territory of the mid-west. It's more likely that Michigan signs 0-1 out of this area. So if they get 250-300 kids on USF's campus, it benefits USF far greater than it does Michigan.
If Michigan does land a kid or two from this event they're still not stealing anything from USF. They're stealing him from FSU, UF, Miami, Clemson or the other top programs that recruit this area.
The only thing being hurt here is some feelings of people that truly don't understand college football recruiting.