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Newly hired Head Coach Jake Spavital oversees team drills as the Texas State Bobcats football team kicks off practice for their upcoming season. The team held practice at Bobcat Stadium on Wednesday, July 31, 2019. (Kin Man Hui/San Antonio Express-News)

The current state of college football has changed the entire landscape of traditional player recruiting.  While the time-honored prospects of looking to high school players to fill college football rosters hasn’t changed, many FBS programs are turning more now than ever to junior college and transfer players to shore up their ranks.

UTEP under head coach Dana Dimel highly favors targeting JUCO players as a ready source of experienced, older recruits who can make an immediate impact on the filed.  During the recently completed 2022 recruiting cycle, UTEP garnered 11 of their 16 signings from the JUCO ranks with only S Kobe Hylton coming in as an FBS transfer from Louisiana.  Hylton looks to make an immediate impact in the Miners secondary while the JUCO recruits will no doubt find their way on to the field in the respective positions.  Coach Dimel learned the value of JUCO transfers after serving with Bill Snyder at Kansas State for a number of years.

Texas State has changed its recruiting direction as well under head coach Jake Spavital and only signed two in-state high school recruits from Texas in the 2022 cycle.  This isn’t necessarily a change in direction for the Bobcats since they only signed one HS recruit in 2021.  Spavital has also chosen experience and three out of five signings this year came from the JUCO route while the Bobcats bolstered their roster with seven additions via the transfer portal.  The most interesting Texas State transfer is incoming QB Layne Hatcher who just so happens to come from Sun Belt rival Arkansas State and knows all of the familiar opponents already.

It is interesting to note that Spavital has chosen to go to the JUCO and transfer routes rather than traditional high school recruiting given his family history as high school coaches ( I have coached in the OK HS ranks and have met Spavital’s father Steve on a couple of occasions.) Necressity is the mother of invention and no doubt the Bobcats are looking for ready-made experience rather than having to spend time and money on developing players straight out of high school.

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