Article reprinted courtesy of Fargo Forum and reporter Eric Peterson.
MOORHEAD — Concordia had its "junior day" scheduled for May 17, an event in which potential 2021 football recruits were supposed to be on campus.
Cobbers head coach Terry Horan and his staff, however, called an audible due to the coronavirus pandemic with no in-person, on-campus visits allowed.
The alternative may prove to be more fruitful.
"It's getting us to think outside of the box a little bit," Horan said.
Instead of the one-day, on-campus event, the Cobbers plan to have six virtual "junior day" sessions via video conferencing. The first two sessions were Sunday, May 3, with more than 50 athletes in each. There are four more sessions planned over the next two Sundays.
"Everything worked great. It was enjoyable," Horan said. "I always enjoy our recruiting events, but this was something new, something different."
Horan said the Cobbers had around 100 potential recruits signed up for the on-campus "junior day," which had to be canceled. In contrast, more than 350 combined are signed up for the six virtual sessions that are being done via video conference.
"It's not like being on campus, but it's something," Horan said. "What's good about it is we're getting kids from Arizona, Florida, California, Texas. We've got kids that would not be here for our on-campus event that have signed up for these virtual events."
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Division III schools were granted a blanket waiver to allow them to use virtual platforms for recruiting activities that would normally take place on campus. The waiver is through Aug.1.
"This will give them a little look-see about what we're about," Horan said.
Horan said the virtual sessions are around one hour worth of information, including a welcome video from Concordia athletic director Rachel Bergeson and a drone video tour of the campus. Team highlights are also shown along with questions for Horan to close out the session.
"Each group had at least 15-to-25 questions," Horan said.
The Cobbers are in the process of finalizing their 2020 recruiting class. Horan said Concordia has 57 commitments, including three recruits who weren't able to visit campus in part to the COVID-19 outbreak. Horan added that there could be an additional five or six commitments of recruits who weren't able to visit campus.
"All of them have done their due diligence in learning more about us," Horan said of the commitments who didn't make a campus visit. "Once in a while, we'll get a couple who will make some decisions without even coming to campus. We've had a handful over the years, late decision makers. It's a little different this year. It's usually one or two maybe. We have three now with a chance of maybe five or six more."
Horan said his coaching staff did the majority of the recruiting work before the COVID-19 outbreak changed the recruiting landscape. That helped the Cobbers land a 2020 recruiting class that is nearing 60 players.
"Before COVID, our class was pretty much solidified," Horan said. "For the most part, our biggest legwork had been done."