TCU’s Gary Patterson on recruiting: It’s getting harder and harder to do it right

TCU coach Gary Patterson thought he’d have a little fun last weekend by calling out negative recruiters on Twitter.

He knew the post would create social media buzz, but his underlying message carried truth. No, he’s not retiring after Saturday’s Oklahoma State game, and, no, he’s not a fan of opposing schools using negative recruiting tactics against his program.

“I got done what I needed to get done,” Patterson said. “Our recruits needed to be able to see it. I didn’t have time to call, talk to any of those kids right now cause we’re getting ready for the ballgame [against Oklahoma State].

“The people that needed to know got it, so we’ll go on about our life.”

Patterson went on to speak at length about his recruiting strategy and practices. For being the second-longest tenured coach at his current school in the country, Patterson and his staff have gotten to know just about everybody in the coaching industry.

Patterson has tried to do it the right way, selling recruits on the benefits of playing for TCU instead of belittling or spreading false rumors about other programs. He views recruiting like being a plumber, electrician or car mechanic.

If you don’t treat people fairly or do a poor job, you’re not going to stay in business long.

“You’re going to get your next job because of word of mouth,” Patterson said. “We’ve had a lot of families, we didn’t get their son, but we may have gotten someone else’s son because of the way we approached the recruiting aspect. You can’t stay somewhere as long as we have ... if you didn’t do it right, you’d be in trouble.

“It’s getting harder and harder to do it right. I can tell you that in the way the landscape is. But you’ve only got to have 20 a year that want to be yours and come for the right reasons.

“Then, if they come for the right reasons, it’ll also be a situation where they’re not going to be transferring, not going to do other things, just because whatever reason.”

That approach has paid off for Patterson and his staff.

TCU has been among the most competitive programs in the country, finishing in the Top 10 of the final polls at least three times in the past four seasons. Only four other schools (Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma) can say that.

On the recruiting front, Patterson and his staff have the No. 33-ranked class coming in, according to 247Sports. Last year’s recruiting class featured the highest-rated prospect to sign with TCU since 2000 in quarterback Justin Rogers.

Patterson liked the NCAA going to an early signing period in football, too, beginning last year. This year, the first day recruits can sign their national letters of intent is Dec. 19 with the end date being Dec. 21.

The “late” signing day is Feb. 6, as the first Wednesday of February had been the signing date for years.

“Now you don’t have to hold on [to recruits],” Patterson said. “I thought January was the worst month. … Everyone comes off those two [dead] weeks and it’s craziness. I’m glad it’s down to three or four guys instead of your whole recruiting class of craziness.”

Patterson joked that he could write an entire book about the craziness of recruiting, and being in the middle of a hotbed of football talent. He’s seen it all over the years.

“All the things I’ve seen … it’d be interesting,” Patterson said, smiling.

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