There’s no playbook for Tyler Barnes.
“We’re just kind of taking it week-by-week and just waiting to see how it all shakes out with the pandemic,” Iowa football’s director of recruiting said. “Not being in the building, not being around our staff, it’s probably the first time in a long time most guys haven’t been in the office.”
No amount of experience could prepare the coaches to deal with the ramifications of COVID-19, but the show goes on with recruiting.
”You’re finding a way to stay up-to-date with everything and stay in communication with our players, with our staff, with recruits, with their families,” Barnes said. “A lot of Zoom, a lot of FaceTime, a lot of texting, a lot of phone calls.”
Spring is one of the busiest times in the recruiting cycle with on-campus visits and an evaluation period. Both have been suspended until at least the end of may.”
“If there’s questions we need to get answered, let’s work to get them answered,” Barnes said. “If we can’t, then we’re gonna have to hold tight and work from there. Just make sure we’re sticking true to how we evaluate in the process that’s always been a part of what Iowa football does here.”
The biggest challenge for the Hawkeyes is not having their top targets in Iowa City. The program has sent out virtual campus tours, but Barnes admits it’s been tough replicating the feeling of being here.
“You’re just trying to show them campus and different videos highlighting who Iowa football is, the pillars of our program, our facility, Kinnick,” Barnes said. “It’s hard to beat getting on campus and getting around our staff and sitting in Coach Ferentz’s office.”
Without that in-person interaction now, the traditional timeline will likely be pushed deeper into the fall.”
“We’re gonna have to supplement in ways that we haven’t done before,” Barnes said. “Like Coach Ferentz said, we might have to go back to recruiting the old way and seeing a lot of senior film and work that way.”
One thing that won’t change is Iowa’s overall philosophy.
“The thing that we truly feel sets us apart is the people in the building,” Barnes said. “So making sure they’re able to communicate with those coaches and just get a feel for the different people that they might be in-touch with on a daily basis. That’s the biggest emphasis for us right now.”
It’s still early in the next couple recruiting cycles, but Barnes said the Hawkeyes are off to a good start. He hopes that fostering those relationships now pays off down the road when life eventually returns to normal.
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