Now that it's clear that satellite camps are an actual thing that college football coaches will be doing this summer, we're starting to get a clearer picture of how the things are going to look.
Kirby Smart says he's going to do satellite camps, but judiciously, noting that his coaches' time is valuable. Smart has also noted that all of the Bulldog coaching staff doesn't have to be at every satellite camp, though you can imagine that the head 'Dawg will be a headliner that a lot of high school coaches and camp organizers will want on their field. For now it appears that UGA coaches will be a part of at least five satellite camps, all within either the states of Georgia or Alabama.
Clemson's Dabo Swinney is taking a very different approach.
"We’ll still kind of do business as usual for us at Clemson. We’re going to continue to have our camps at Clemson and hopefully kids that are interested in Clemson will come and see us there. I don’t need to go somewhere to evaluate a young person. I can do all of that, but I do need them to come to Clemson to make sure it’s the right match on both sides."
Who's right? I think both are to an extent.Swinney is correct that college coaches need to be at home base during the summer to welcome recruits to campus. Will Muschamp after all still tells the story about visiting Gainesville only to find that the Head Ball Coach was off doing other things (knowing Spurrier those other things likely involved a golf course, a case of Coors Lite, or both). And it's likely that schools' own prospect camps, like UGA's Dawg Night event, will remain the prime recruiting event of the summer.
At the same time, continuing to do "business as usual" has historically been a great way to fall behind the rest of the pack in college football. Satellite camps are about to be a fact of life for college head coaches. If a player can either go to Clemson and meet Swinney or attend another camp and get in front of Smart, Ole Miss's Hugh Freeze, and Jim Harbaugh there's a good chance he'll go where the coaches are. This dynamic will be especially prominent for players looking to earn those crucial first couple of offers. And don't think that Swinney's absence will go unnoticed (or uncommented upon) by rival recruiters. Who's out here to see you man? Kirby. That's who.
While it doesn't make sense to spend 40 days in a row on the road hitting every camp at every high school in the South, I think Kirby Smart is handling this the right way. By all means, hit the camps that are likely to draw the most top level recruits. Be there. Be seen. Maybe talk a couple of guys into visiting who otherwise might not come to Athens. Figure out in this first summer what the right emphasis is on satellite camps versus on campus time. Don't make yourself a target by assuming that "business as usual" will continue to work.