Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst plans to have a new recruiting staff in place sometime in February
MADISON – Paul Chryst’s goal is to have a new recruiting staff in place sometime in February.
“You take January and do it all,” Chryst told a trio of reporters during a sit-down interview in his office Monday.
Saeed Khalif, Wisconsin’s director of player personnel, and Jensen Gebhardt, UW’s player personnel coordinator, took jobs at Michigan State last June.
Their departures forced Chryst to spread more work out among the assistant coaches and various support personnel.
That included putting Eric Johnson, the executive director of football administration, in charge of recruiting.
Chryst explained much of the recruiting work for the 2022 class had been done by the coaches and he didn’t want to rush to hire a new recruiting staff in June.
“You looked at a few (candidates),” he said, “but I think you’d make a mistake if you hired someone quickly that was the wrong fit.”
The early signing period begins Wednesday and UW has 13 known commitments, including four in-state prospects.
They are: Whitefish Bay offensive lineman Joe Brunner, Stoughton offensive lineman Barrett Nelson, Franklin quarterback Myles Burkett and Monroe tight end JT Seagraves.
Burkett, 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, was The Associated Press state player of the year this season. He completed 206 of 289 passes for 3,427 yards, with 36 touchdowns and four interceptions, to lead Franklin to the WIAA Division 1 state title.
The other nine known commitments are linebacker Aidan Vaughan of Michigan, defensive end Tristan Monday of Arizona, defensive back Austin Brown of Illinois, wide receiver Vinny Anthony of Kentucky, defensive back Avyonne Jones of Texas, defensive tackle Curtis Neal of North Carolina, wide receiver Tommy McIntosh of Michigan, “athlete” Cade Yacamelli of Pennsylvania and defensive back A’Khoury Lyde of New Jersey.
UW pursued Fond du Lac offensive lineman Billy Schrauth, but the standout recently committed to Notre Dame.
Although some programs appear intent on building recruiting staffs that feature double-digit workers, Chryst made it clear that's not his approach.
“We’re just not going to do it because everyone else is doing it,” he said, “whether it is the number of analysts, recruiting (staffers) …
“What you want is every person where they have a full plate. Not too much on their plate, but a full plate. They are doing what they should be doing. They’re focusing on what they should be focusing on. Everyone’s got a full day’s work.
“When they start getting overloaded, then they need help.”
Chryst said no assistant coach approached him this season asking for help.
“That is why I appreciate the group,” he said. “Everyone is: ‘OK, let’s go.’
“I’ve always felt that if we need something, we’ll get it. My responsibility is: ‘Do we need it?'
“Then if we need it, go (ask).”
Chryst noted the new hires will have to be knowledgeable about the NCAA transfer portal and the impact of Name, Image and Likeness.
“You better have someone that is primarily devoted to … the transfer portal,” he said.
Several UW seniors could choose to return in 2022 for an extra year of eligibility provided by the NCAA, which did not count the 2020 season because of COVID1-19.
Those players include cornerback Faion Hicks, safety Scott Nelson, nose tackle Bryson Williams, offensive lineman Josh Seltzner and punter Andy Vujnovich.
“You try to help get information for them,” he said, adding he plans to give players time after the bowl game to mull their decisions. “I think you need to let it kind of re-center a little bit.
“But you certainly know which ones to have the conversations with. … At some point you need to know how many (recruits) you are going to sign, but at the same time these are your guys. They get first dibs.”