Football finds prospective athletes to bolster growing team
By Abe Field /// Senior Staff Writer
After meeting Jay Locey face-to-face, I can understand why the Pioneer Football team is building and experiencing some of the largest recruiting classes in the history of the program. The award-winning head coach warmly welcomed me into his office where he outlined his plan for the Pioneer football program’s coming years.
Locey says that there are many steps involved in the recruitment process. “Much of the recruiting gets done online and through the phone,” he tells me. The Pioneer Fotball staff starts reaching out to high school students as early as the start of their junior year. “The other coaches and I reach out to student athletes through emails, texts and phone calls,” Locey said. “We are trying to continue building a strong, young program here at LC.”
Locey is right on track. As the team looks toward the 2016 season, the Pioneers are bringing back 26 members of the sophomore class, 11 members of the junior class, and five of the seniors athletes. Little organizational inertia will be lost over the summer with this level of retention. The team is on track to recruit anywhere between 30-35 rookie football players for the class of 2020, hailing from all over the country.
When recruiting, the coaches promote Lewis & Clark College in a variety of ways. First on their list is the great education that players will receive at LC, and the excellent academic support that is available to athletes. They also advertise our school’s accessibility to Portland and excellent strength and conditioning coaches and facilities.
The next method that the Pioneers’ coaching staff uses to recruit young athletes is to travel to summer training camps to see them play. The coaching staff attends camps in Oregon, Washington, Utah and California to scout out prospective athletes. The final method the team uses is to ask alumni of the football program if they have any students the program could recruit. “We have developed an alumni network that is almost like a close-knit brotherhood,” Locey says.
The Pioneer football staff aims to improve their team by actively recruiting great athletes and then developing them into versatile specialty players that can play multiple positions if the need comes up. It is not uncommon for the team to recruit a an athlete as a wide receiver and switch his position from cornerback or safety, or vis versa. Many players on Locey’s team play multiple positions, such as Josh Cena ’16, who has been a cornerback and punt returner.
Jay Locey and his team of coaches have been doing a great job throughout this year’s long recruitment process, and we can’t wait to see what the next class of recruits put together for their rookie year and the rest of their careers. The football season cannot come soon enough for the Pioneer squad, who will no doubt be out to prove themselves in the Northwest Conference, and eventually, the national level.