InsideNebraska - Three & Out: Vince Guinta interview and recruiting news and notes
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Three & Out: Vince Guinta interview and recruiting news and notes

This is HuskerOnline.com's feature in which recruiting analysts Mike Matya and Bryan Munson give their weekly takes on topical issues concerning Nebraska football, baseball, and recruiting.

Today in our next installment of "Three and Out," we hit on additional comments from Vince Guinta and some more recruiting news and notes heading into the spring game.

Vince Guinta poses with former Husker Zach Potter at a practice this spring.
Vince Guinta poses with former Husker Zach Potter at a practice this spring.

  Vince Guinta interview Part 1  

Nebraska Senior Director Vince Guinta recently gave an interview with the media where he responded to several questions about his return to Lincoln and his overhauling the Huskers' Player Personnel and Recruiting organization in accord with the specifications given to him by head coach Scott Frost.

Below is Part 1 of the additional comments he made over a broad range of topics.

You got here at a point where there's new assistant coaches and the staff looks a little bit different. How much is it a reorganization in terms of how you split up areas and all that?

Vince: "I did do a lot of research. Some great pieces of the recruiting staff are here that have been here and they helped me get the lay of the land and what we've been doing in the past. At the end of the day, Nebraska is always a program that you're going to start in this state and be regional recruiters, but you're going to have to go out into different parts of the country to recruit. Some of those aren't going to change. There's going to be hotbeds of talent, there's going to be connections on the staff."

What would you say is Scott Frost's vision for Nebraska recruiting? How has it changed or did he articulate to you that he wanted it to change from what it had previously been?

Vince: "I think what we want to do is we want to bring great character kids here. We want to bring tough competitive kids here. We want to bring kids that can succeed here in Nebraska and are great fits for our culture. That being said, that means we want talented kids that can help us compete at the highest level. I think when you look at that view the challenge is now, okay, that's the directive now, what are the processes you into place to achieve those goals?"

How do you filter for intangibles like that?

Vince: "Oh, that's a great question. That's one of the things that I've has been really in my, as I've grown up in this business and from job to job, having learned a little more and spent a little more time as I've researched, whether that be the NFL or other college programs. I think that getting to know the background of the young men and the people that they've interacted with before, I think that's more important than ever.

"I think whether that's people that you talk to or questions that you ask, it's part of the evaluation process, too. In the old days, you'd watch a VHS tape and you might be able to offer the kid off that, then you'd want to find out more about him after the fact. To me now, the process is more about, let's find out about the young man as we're going through the process. You can be much more involved on that side of things initially than you could in the past. The same with between emails and text messages, and then obviously, just connecting with coaches has become a little easier than it ever was. I think researching the young men is really a big part of the evaluation process."

How has your eye for evaluation developed over the course of your career and who's had an influence on how you go about it?

Vince: "That was a good question. I'll tell you, the first coach that I got to work with ever in college was a guy named Ron McBride. Who, if you know anything about Utah football, they call him the godfather of the program. He really flipped things around and started on the path to what it is today. Mac was about toughness. Being around Mac, he had great athletes and he liked great athletes and tough people. I think that was my base.

"I was able to work with a lot of NFL-type backgrounds when I was here the first time with the Bill Callahan staff. That's why we became interested in the measurable process. There's no better place for researching biometrics and measurables and things like that than there is here. We have labs here, we have one of the best departments that handle that in the country. That piece is really developed here.

"Then I got to learn a lot about character and fit at Oregon State and Wisconsin. To be honest with you, I got to work with some great people at Oregon State. That was a really fun experience to work with Jonathan Smith and to see what was his philosophies. He had a big influence on how I look at backgrounds and evaluate as well. You put that all together and that kind of got me to where I am today."

If you're the Director of On-campus Recruiting, what does that mean?

Vince: "I always say it like this, your tile reflects what your strain is day-to-day. Whoever that person is going to be, they're going to strain to make the recruiting experience here at Nebraska as elite as it can be. Whether that be through the experiences they have on a visit, whether that be leading up to the visit, if that is their strength. It's much more that goes into having someone here for six hours, that could take 30, 40 hours to plan. With all the events and the amount of traffic we get here with this program, that's something that keeps you busy, that will keep that person busy year-round. The more time someone can strain in that direction, I think the higher the results will be.

"Then the director of recruiting, their job is to oversee the process and try to do things that can further it. Whether that's working with our social media departments and our marketing to make sure that we have a world-class social media and marketing departments. Liaisoning with them to get the consistent message and story out. Whether that be the process of what we do, on visits, or the places that we go, the things we do, the mechanics of recruiting, that recruiting process."

What have you observed, in particular, with the guys who are in their first years on the staff as full-time coaches about their strengths? What you've seen with their abilities as recruiters?

Vince: "I'll tell you at first I think it's a testament to what Coach Frost did when he went through the hiring process. Because he found good men and they're all the staff is -- all the new coaches are good recruiters. You look at Coach Raiola. Coach Raiola is a great former player that has a lot of ties to some of our most important recruiting areas. He can connect really well with kids and his passion for the game transfers over. What you see in his interactions with the young man when they sit in his office and you peek in there and you see them looking at a film together or you hear him on the phone. It means something to him and they can feel that he takes it very seriously, too. He's a serious guy, but he connects well with the kids.

"Then you look at like Coach Busch and Coach Joseph and they have great recruiting track records. Both they do. Coach Applewhite, coming from where he's coming, his background and he's got great relationships in his area. They're all hardworking. Then coach Whipple is just so refreshing because you meet so many of these old NFL guys and you never know what their personality's going to be like. He's so humble. He doesn't have to recruit a lot of kids. You're a quarterback coach, you don't have to get five guys a year, six guys a year, every year. He's so humble and he's great on the phone.

"He's got great stories. If you can sit down and hear stories about what it was like to coach a young Ben Roethlisberger What it was like to be at some of the other places that he's been. Those experiences really shine through and I see he was one I didn't know what he was going to be like and it's been really cool to watch him. He's great with people."

- Mike Matya

Rivals100 linebacker Raul Aguirre will be at the spring game Saturday.
Rivals100 linebacker Raul Aguirre will be at the spring game Saturday.

Mini-Munson Musings

There were so many things to talk about this week but not one, large topic. I decided to go mini-TT format and just do a complete brain dump of all of the things that I have been thinking about and covering. Here are basically my notes from the past week or so:

*** I know there have been a lot of questions as to why Nebraska might take two tight ends in this class. I think that a good bite from the injury bug might reinforce the need itself. However, I think there are some things that will change in the future with the room.

*** One can't look past Chase Androff last year being the tight end in the class and how he didn't look like the other tight ends recruited the year before. He was much more of a hand in the dirt tight end that looks more like a third tackle than a guy that would split out wide. It's not a knock on Androff, it's just how he's built. He is a very good blocker.

*** While people are fighting the idea of a second tight end in a class of roughly 15 players, I have fought the idea of four offensive lineman in the class. Simply put, the interest in Herring, though, might support it. Herring does seem better suited to play at guard and there is most definitely a need for a bigger offensive tackle in the class.

*** I really started to get the feeling Nebraska had struck out with Mateaki Helu. Helu visited Nebraska for junior day on March 5th and the Utah commit picked up an offer from Nebraska. While Helu definitely did seem interested immediately following the visit, things went quiet. And then two more offers to inside linebackers came out last week to Raul Aguirre and to Blake Nichelson.

*** I thought Nebraska was moving on, but Helu told me earlier this week that he is planning on taking an official visit to Nebraska. The timing, however, of waiting until the season for a game might have Nebraska looking for someone who is a more interested in closing the deal a little sooner.

*** Speaking of Aguirre...what a huge break to catch him boarding the flight for Ohio State and he says he will be in Lincoln this weekend. I know this will be a very difficult pull...but talk about a tough crowd. Nebraska can't bring in unevaluated, unrated and can't bring in a four-star either. Guess it's back to the 5.6 three-star guys that everyone appreciated so much last year until Nebraska made some changes to the staff?

*** My time this past week has been spent catching up with as many of the 2023 class recruits that had already visited Nebraska to see if they were coming back for the spring game or were planning an official visit to NU. Some of those results have already been shared on the board, but I will post my findings here:

Ethan Thomason: "I don't think that I will be at the spring game and I haven't decided where I want to take my official visits."

Aycen Stevens: "I think that I am going to take an official visit to Nebraska but I am not sure when."

Joe Otting: "I am not sure yet on the official visit to Nebraska and I won't be going to their spring game."

D.J. Braswell: "I am planning on taking an official visit to Nebraska. I won't be there for the spring game. I haven't scheduled the visit."

Paris Patterson: "Yes, I plan on making a return visit to Nebraska. I am planning out the date for the trip now."

Riley Van Poppel: "I won't be able to make it to Nebraska for the spring game because that's the day of my prom. I do have an official visit set up for June 9-12."

Zach Ortwerth: "I will be at the spring game."

Williams Nwaneri: "Right now, I am not sure when I will be back at Nebraska."

Watts McBride: "I am still trying to build a schedule and find a date to go back to Nebraska."

Blake Purchase: "No, I won't be at the spring game, but I am looking at setting up an official visit to Nebraska."

DJ Chester: "No, I haven't set up an official visit to Nebraska yet."

Tay'Shawn Wilson: "I talk to Nebraska all the time. I am getting ready to set up a visit. It will be an official visit. I won't be there for the spring game, though."

Asa Newsom: "No, unfortunately I won't be there. I am still talking to Nebraska almost daily. I haven't set up an official visit there, but I am definitely thinking about it."

*** I also caught up with another recruit Nebraska offered earlier this week. Arkansas commit Anthony Evans picked up an offer from NU on Tuesday. I was curious what Nebraska was doing sniffing around Texas for another wide receiver target, but then the speed popped out on his film. He claims a 4.36 laser timed 40. Evans told me that he was interested in visiting Nebraska later in the summer. It seems he is getting more and more popular as things go. He picked up an offer from Georgia following the offer from Nebraska.

- Bryan Munson

Vince Guinta interview Part 2

Nebraska Senior Director Vince Guinta recently gave an interview with the media where he responded to several questions about his return to Lincoln and his overhauling the Huskers' Player Personnel and Recruiting organization in accord with the specifications given to him by head coach Scott Frost.

Below is Part 2 of the additional comments he made over a broad range of topics.

How much time since you've come back have you spent strategizing about Omaha and even Lincoln?

Vince: "Well, that's a good question. I think one of the first things that you saw when I got here, right away, we had our coaches go out and go to the Omaha Coaches Clinic, and we went to the Lincoln Coaches Clinic. It's important to us. It's something that we've spoken to at length as a staff. As a recruiting staff internally, and in my discussions with our recruiters, we're going to have a good plan. I talked about it a little bit in our coaching clinic, we're going to have a good plan to get out on the road, and when we do to make sure that we do a great job in Omaha and Lincoln, and in the State. But it is very important to us. It's something that we want to work at and we want to prioritize."

One of the things that pops up a lot around here is legacy players. How can you utilize that to benefit the program?

Vince: "They're your best recruiters, the players are. That's when you bring someone to campus and what the other players that are in their program say about the coaches, say about the community, say about the university, that's the most impactful on these young men. We've got some great coaches that can really talk. Mickey and Busch and all of them can. Guys like that, they can sell you something, but the players are your best representatives without a doubt. That's why it's important to be a great player program and treat your players well and be a team, a coaching staff of what you say you're going to do."

How difficult is it to balance being able to recruit 500-mile radius, but also know that Nebraska is a national brand and wants to and needs to still recruit nationally, too.

Vince: "Oh, it's paramount to be able to do that, that's something that we work on every day. We use our relationships and our connections to certain geographical regions. One of the great things about Scott Frost's staff is that he has guys that their success that they had at UCF, had connections in different parts of the east coast that we have. Then myself and coach Apple White, and Mickey Joseph, we've spent a lot of time in Texas and in certain parts of the Southeast recently. It's blending that together to look into a cohesive unit. That's really big part of my challenge every day. I feel like it's a priority to us just to make sure that we keep recruiting in the area.

"We want to make sure, as we got new coaches, those connections might be slightly different, but we definitely wanted to make sure that we were focused in the region. This radius of states around this area produce a lot of good players. I think players that are closer to home tend to stay with the programs they choose. That's something I think long term that's always in the back of my head. There's no doubt, especially when you look at a program like this where the ties are so deep to people's families and to their experiences growing up. It makes a lot of sense to recruit people that it means something to."

It seems as if the state of Missouri has become a big focus with this class and going forward, could you talk about that?

Vince: "Anytime you look at Missouri and you look at how the conferences shook out and all that, obviously, that changed a little bit from when I was here. Missouri, they're the good program in their home state. Obviously, in another good conference.

"Missouri's one of those states that I think we want to do good in. I think we want to do well there. I think there's a reason that Mickey's pretty dynamic recruiter. There's a reason that he's recruiting there. There's a reason that we have other dynamic recruiters in the Kansas City area because we want do well there. For sure, there's a lot of good players that we would like to keep in this area."

How important is the Big Ten footprint?

Vince: "Oh, it's very important because there's a natural draw. Because if you are from the big 10 footprint, you can, no matter where you are in the Big Ten, you know that you're going to be playing road games all through the area. We make sure those are recruiting areas for us. Some of those regions have stronger draws to certain teams than others. I think that we don't shy away from going into those states and going through the process that we go through.

"You mentioned if you just look on our side, obviously, there's states that are really close to us where we probably would have a little bit easier proximity when I was here.- Well, I'll give you an example. My neighbor across the street from me is Nate Swift, he's from Minnesota. When I was here, our left tackle was a Minnesota guy. There's no reason Minnesota, Wisconsin, and with our o-line coach who was an All-American there at Wisconsin. There's no reason that we shouldn't recruit that region.

"We're going to be going to Chicago. Chicago has a great history here throughout the years, there's no reason we shouldn't be able to go in there, find the right kids, and be competitive with. The key is you've got to go through your process to make sure you're finding the right kids and you're not just trying to cast a wide net and see what comes up. You've got to have a process behind it."

You've had some guys come in on unofficial over the course of spring ball, but how much different is that than trying to put together a weekend like this where you can have a lot of guys?

Vince: "I'll tell you, I've got a lot of anxiety about this weekend, there's a lot going on. It's excited anxiety. They are different. A lot of times these young men that came in over the last few weeks, during spring, have been here before. They were either here for a junior day or they've been to a camp. You're not trying to cultivate an initial experience for them, you want them to see things they hadn't seen, but they're coming to watch football. They're coming to watch how a coaches and then maybe do one or two little things that they hadn't done before.

"When you've got the spring game, you've got different things going on. We've got official visit going on, that's a 48-hour process in conjunction with signees that are coming back. Guys that are going to be on our team and then other young men. A high percentage of our regional recruits that are going to be here or have already been here. Then you're going to have some out-of-state kids, this will be their first time.

"You just want to make sure that as you build your schedule, you build it so that you're staffed right to be able to take care of the needs of people that need to maybe see a little more and that you build your schedule so that the coaches can be there to accommodate all the things that might come up."

- Mike Matya