Tuesday, February 27, 2024

How Curt Cignetti has overhauled IU football’s recruiting department

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This originally appeared in Zach Osterman’s weekly IU Talking Points, which post Thursdays (usually).

Among the many changes Curt Cignetti made during his first weeks on the job, IU’s new coach overhauled his recruiting department with new hires in multiple positions.

Chiefly among them, Cignetti brought in Matt Wilson as IU’s assistant athletic director for player personnel. Wilson, who also worked for Indiana as senior director of player personnel/recruiting in 2017, has had success in helping organize and execute recruiting efforts across multiple stops in his career.

DOYEL: Cignetti flipping everything IU football’s way: recruits, narratives, hope

He inherited a ‘crisis roster situation. Now, Curt Cignetti preps IU for spring.

He’s worked for Tennessee, his alma mater, as well as Mississippi State, Arkansas State and, most recently, North Carolina State. Now, he’ll lead in that area for the Hoosiers.

“I was looking for good structure, capable people,” Cignetti said. “Impressed with Matt. Have known him a long time. Had some good discussions with him.”

Alongside Wilson, Cignetti brought in Mike Ferrara as director of player personnel, and John Srofe as director of scouting. Together, the trio will spearhead their program’s efforts to identify and evaluate players both from the high school and portal talent pools.

Expanded scouting and evaluation infrastructure is a crucial piece of modern college football programs. Recruiting develops more quickly — particularly through the portal — now. Teams must be able to make efficient but thorough and confident evaluations on players, or else risk moving too slowly compared to competitors.

Some schools have even taken to designating a general manager position. Purdue, for example, hired former IU assistant Noah Joseph to that role last year.

Whatever their titles, such staffers have become important cogs in the college football machine. Cignetti expressed confidence in his remade personnel structure to help launch his IU tenure successfully.

“It’s a critical component in terms of expediting the evaluation and identifying (recruits),” he said. “Put together an organization that was strong in evaluation and marketing. I think we’re extremely strong in evaluation.”

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