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Recruiting arms race? Texas raids Alabama staff for key new position

One of the most controversial parts of the new recruiting deregulations apparently will not be struck down. Especially when Texas has dipped into the Alabama staff pool to start its own player personnel department.

Former Bama assistant director/football operations Patrick Suddes was introduced Friday as Texas' first director of player personnel. Schools are allowed to have such departments under the new deregulations that are expected to go into effect on Aug. 1. There is concern about a new arms race in recruiting, but it seemingly isn't going to stop with player personnel.

Suddes, 30, came from a pool of 100 applicants and was a finalist along with LSU director of player personnel Morris Sherman. Those two schools are considered the gold standard in the so-called “quality control” positions. Not coaches, they are the extra polo shirts on those staffs considered valuable valets for the staffers. Some are paid, some are volunteers. Some of it is grunt work. The upside is that they can have a major-college power on their resume.

For example, there are five persons listed on the Alabama staff as “Football Analyst.”

Suddes has followed Alabama coach Nick Saban since becoming a recruiting intern at LSU in 2004. He will coordinate all camps and the Texas high school coaches clinic. A player personnel department could conceivably do that and more -- break down recruiting tape for assistants, for example. And/or keep a running Twitter/text dialogue with recruits.

“If I'm recruiting 30 juniors and 15 sophomores, I can spend all my time texting and doing nothing else,” Brown said.

Which is now what he wants to do. Texas is looking to have a player personnel staff of about five.

"I'm not married. I have no hobbies, other than bad basketball,” said Suddes, who has spent the last six seasons at Bama, his alma mater. “I've got nothing to do but make this right."

The NCAA's Rules Working Group is asking the NCAA board to look at a couple of the new proposed rule changes. Neither of them have to do with schools being able to establish player personnel departments.

Brown, current president of the American Football Coaches Association, is critical of some of the recruiting changes but went to the top to get his first player personnel director. Brown added that he is against staffs getting so big “that Wake Forest and East Carolina can't afford everything.”

“I do want our rules to get better,” he said. “They have been antiquated for so long. With all this shake up, as confusing as it is, it's going to get some clarity. We're going to come out of this in a better place, I think.”


Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.
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