Feb. 2, 2011
"Special Class" for Coach Bostwick
By David Boyce
Initially, Northwest Missouri State football coach Scott Bostwick said the recruiting process was no different for him from any other year.
As he talked Tuesday evening about the players who will send their letter of intents today to Northwest, Bostwick knew there was a distinction.
It is his first recruiting class as the Northwest head coach.
Sure, he recruited the same area (Nebraska) as he had as defensive coordinator. But Bostwick's duties increased in late December when Mel Tjeerdsma retired.
Bostwick is like any proud dad seeing his first daughter or son. The excitement is not containable.
"This is a special class for me because it is my first class as a head coach," Bostwick said. "I hope when it is all said and done and, if we evaluated right, this is a really deep group.
"These kids have won state championships. They are good students. I'll let you know in two or three years what type of recruiting class this is. There are some players in this group that have excelled at a very high level in high school. We hope they continue that here at Northwest."
The only thing that gave Bostwick pause Tuesday evening was the weather. The snowstorm that blasted through the Midwest left many schools closed on Wednesday.
Signing day is just as big a deal for the high schools as it is for the colleges getting the student-athlete. Most high schools have nice little ceremonies with parents present to honor the moment. The signed letter of intent is then faxed from the high school to the college.
What happens for the player whose school is closed?
"That's a good question. We talked about it," Bostwick said. "This could be a mess Wednesday."
One way or another, though, the 25 players who have orally committed to Northwest will eventually get their letter of intents to the school.
Bostwick is anxious for it after all the waiting. Most of these players committed a while back.
Bostwick and his staff have spent the last month making home visits, watching the athlete play basketball or wrestle.
"When we have so many kids who commit early it is hard to just wait," Bostwick said. "We are not really recruiting to the end. It's a relief to see the letter of intents because you held your breath for a while."
Once they sign they are immediately part of the Bearcat family and the Bearcat family will soon get to learn about the players who will spend the next four to five years in Maryville.
The first thing the football staff will do is make a comprehensive list of the recruiting class with phone numbers, addresses and e-mails and send the information to each player who signed.
"That's a new thing," Bostwick said. "The kids really like to contact each other and be roommates."
Also, the football staff will put together highlight clips for each player.
"So in a matter of time on Bearcat Blitz you can see our recruits by clicking the name and see eight or 10 snaps highlighting each of them," Bostwick said. "We will make a tape of it and send it to each of the players so they can watch it."
The incoming players will also get a workout program and lifting program that will take them through the end of spring.
In addition, when Northwest has its annual spring football game in early April all the recruits and their parents will be invited.
"We have a picnic after our game," Bostwick said. "We would like them all to be back here. They are part of our family now so we want them to feel like that."
The recruits will receive another workout program for the summer. When early August arrives, they will already have an idea of what it means to be a Bearcat.
"There's a lot of stuff that they are doing to be part of our program," Bostwick said. "When they commit we are getting them involved in what we are doing."
Most likely, all the players will redshirt the first season. Unless...
"If they can make the two-deep at their position then we would consider playing them," Bostwick said.
Bostwick's recruiting philosophy is similar to any successful college football coach.
"Find the best players in the position we need," he said. "The other thing we try to do is recruit kids who are solid students as well. Almost 2/3 of these kids are getting academic money as well as football money.
"We have some really good players that have committed."
David Boyce spent more than 20 years covering high school and small college athletics at the Kansas City Star newspaper in Missouri. He's covered six of Northwest Missouri State's seven national championship football games and recently served as a guest columnist for the MIAA.
Boyce was named KIAAA Sportswriter of the Year in 1994. He covered boxing at the Star from 1991-2004 including Tommy Morrison and worked both championship fights between Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. His 1997 exclusive story on Morrison becoming HIV positive was named an Associated Press Sports Editor top 10 feature for papers serving more than 150,000.
Boyce was born in New York City and was raised in Kansas City, Kan. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1988 with a degree in journalism. He is currently one of three official scorers for the Kansas City Royals and is a contributing writer for the Royals Gameday magazine.
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