(Towson University athletic…)
The positive momentum from Towson's 9-3, CAA-championship season continued last week when coach Rob Ambrose unveiled the Tigers' 19-man recruiting class. Towson signed eight Maryland natives, plus three players from Virginia's Tidewater area. There are four Division I transfers and four Baltimore-area high school standouts. There are 11 defensive players, seven offensive players and one athlete. Ambrose spoke with Recruiting Report this week about the class.
Overall, what do you like about this class?
Well, I think we upgraded ourselves in places that needed immediate improvement. The advantage of being able to do what we can do at this level vs. everyone else makes it easier to do it the right way. Getting key transfers at positions of need that add immediate help to our immediate depth is huge. To be able to survive at this level, it’s a necessity. We really did land some quality young kids that we’ll build into great players. It’s a good combination in this class.
How much of this class was compiled before your season? Was it fairly split between the offseason and during the season?
Little bit of each. The freshman part of this class, I’d say 80 percent was done before Oct. 1. We were definitely ahead of the curve.
In previous recruiting cycles you were selling kids on what could be. But after this season, you could actually point to tangible results that showed that what you had promised before was now reality. Did you stick to that pitch?
Yeah, the same story that’s been said the first couple of years. In the very beginning of the season, you started to see validation of the previous commentaries, that what we’ve been saying all along, that it’s part of the building process, that it takes time but they’re the foundation of it. We’ve surrounded ourselves with kids who could believe in what would be, who know exactly what it is. To be able to have that kind of success that we had, it’s validation. It makes you truthful.
Did you have to change your sales pitch in recruiting because of the program's success?
No, not at all. That’s the cool thing about it – to be able to stay consistent, be honest and tell a true story. It feels great. Everyone has known forever that this place could always be this. And everybody wanted to buy in, but just never had the opportunity. It was always something. This year has given guys a reason to come home, a reason to believe. The best thing about this recruiting class, if I could sum it up in word, is ‘validation.’
How much did the 2011 season pay off in terms of convincing kids who might have been longshots in the past?
Not so much with the incoming freshmen, but the transfer guys. I can’t tell you the number of kids we recruited in the past that really liked us, we really liked them, and they wanted to believe but they didn’t believe. And then when we play them, sure enough, these guys would come up after and say, ‘Coach, I should’ve listened, I should’ve come to you.’ It’s another validation for us. But as far as the transfer list, our list was ridiculously extensive. It’s the first time I’ve been involved in the selection process. The guys we have now are the guys we select – good fits, good players, good people, good students. It’s definitely an upgrade.
You have the four Division I transfers, and Givens, especially, was a big name coming out of high school. How did you land him?
It’s the same as a lot of those guys. They come out of high school with potential, and everybody there has got the potential and skills to make it to the next level. Then you start over. It’s a growing process for a lot of kids, definitely. All kids are different. I actually recruited [Givens] out of high school, and he remembers me from when he was a sophomore. This is home. This is a good recruiting base. A lot of kids haven’t had a lot of good reasons to stay home. Rutgers was a good experience for him. But he knew that that’s not what he wants out of life. I think he’s got a great opportunity to be very successful. The level of football doesn’t matter. I think recruiting at this level is harder. You have to recruit guys like this, knowing full well that he’s going to a big BCS program, but you have to recruit him for the relationship. The reason these kids are back – every one of these kids has some kind of tie to the area, to the school, or to myself from previous recruiting experiences. Those relationships, when things don’t go exactly as planned and they leave and go far away, they’re looking for a reason to come home and win and have an opportunity. They’re looking for people they trust.
Love was another highly rated guy. What does he bring to the table?