Staff Photo: John Bohn South Gwinnett head football coach John Small, left, uses a hudl video editor system to show game film of his players to Edgar Weiser, offensive coordinator of the University of the Cumberlands football team as the Gwinnett County football recruiting fair is held Monday at Gwinnett Arena Civic Center. College football coaches meet local high school football coaches to discuss the recruitment of high school football players.
DULUTH -- It's become the most popular thing in high school football since the spread offense.
Table after table at the Gwinnett Touchdown Club Recruiting Fair was powered by a computer program that has revolutionized college recruiting.
Coaches no longer have to worry about burning hundreds of highlight DVDs for college recruiters. They now just email them through a football software program called Hudl.
"It's the best thing, I think, to come out for high school and college coaches as far as recruiting," Central Gwinnett head coach Todd Wofford said. "It's evolved from DVDs. Everyone from JUCOs on up is using it."
There were 64 local high schools on hand at the Gwinnett Civic Center on Monday and nearly everyone had a laptop set up with Hudl on the web browser. It made it convenient to show the 120 college recruiters from more than 80 different colleges and universities from the Division II level to NAIA to junior college their college prospects.
"No doubt, Hudl is the greatest tool for high school coaches," Lanier head coach Billy Wells said next to the Longhorns' table with two flat screen televisions showing highlights.
The Lincoln, Neb., based company has caught on like wild fire with high school coaches over the last two years. The computer program easily allows coaches to break down film, add notes, and share with players and coaches. High school coaches no longer have to meet up to trade film. They just do it with a click of a button. It can be accessed from any computer, so there are no more late nights at the field house breaking down game footage. It can be done at home, which is why some coaches call it the marriage saver.
"It's saved us so much work," Parkview head coach Cecil Flowe said. "You don't have to sit around and cut and clip. It's all done for you."
Hudl has helped tremendously in college recruiting. In preparation for the recruiting fair, coaches typically had to burn about 100 DVDs worth of highlights to have ready for colleges. Not anymore. If a coach likes a player, he gives his business card with an e-mail address and the high school coach will e-mail him the player's bio package, which typically includes highlights, one game video and player and high school coach contact information. Players can also add academic and athletic achievements to their profile.
"It's great that the college coaches have access to it," South Gwinnett head coach John Small said. "It's sent instantly throughout the Internet, so the kids can be evaluated instantaneously."
Less than two hours into the recruiting fair, Archer head coach Andy Dyer had already blasted about 25-30 emails of footage to coaches.
"It's good for the high school coaches and the college coaches," Dyer said.
On recruiting trips like at Monday's recruiting fair, college coaches are able to go around and ask about potential college players. Then they can go back to their hotel and watch the video. If they like what they see, they can set up a visit to see the player at school and possibly offer a scholarship before they leave. It's taken a lot of tedious work off of high school coaches.
"Technology has helped this a lot for everyone," Norcross head coach Keith Maloof said.
Mountain View head coach Doug Giacone wished the program was around when he was a college coach. Giacone spent six years in the college recruiting world, including four years at Georgia Southern, and was always traveling the state trying to get video of college prospects.
"As a college coach, that would have been awesome. Tracking down DVDs is the biggest pain in the butt," Giacone said. "It's a one stop shot and get what you need."
Brookwood head coach Mark Crews has been coaching for more than 30 years and he's amazed at how its evolved to a click of a button.
"You're talking to a guy that goes back to 16mm film. You had one copy of film you would trade back and forth. To email to them now, it's pretty neat," Crews said. "The technology in being able to get the kids out there is pretty neat."
The easy-to-use program has helped get high school players some attention from college coaches. Flowe, a veteran head coach, just wishes he could have a small part of the company.
"One share of stock," Flowe quipped. "It's just amazing how these guys developed this."