College football recruiting NDSU

How NDSU Programs Success: Recruiting The Next Bison

Technology has made finding these thousands of recruits easier. But it’s also made it more challenging as the tug-of-war on who can attract the best recruits gets tougher and tougher.

Bison Illustrated Subscription

Technology continues to change how we live our life. And when it comes to college athletics, this couldn’t be any more true. Whether it’s from filming games and practices to recruiting, from highlight videos to injury recovery, technology has played a major role in making it all happen more efficiently.


We delve into all of the newest technological improvements in the NDSU athletic department and how it benefits Bison student-athletes.

Read more parts of Bison Illustrated‘s “How NDSU Programs Success” cover story here.


College football recruiting is a never-ending battle. As the lifeblood of a program, one great — or bad — class can impact your team for years. Technology has made finding these thousands of recruits easier. But it’s also made it more challenging as the tug-of-war on who can attract the best recruits gets tougher and tougher.

football recruiting


Hank Jacobs is the director of football operations at NDSU who handles the day-to-day operations and recruiting activities. The Bison have a system of finding recruits and are always working ahead.


  • Jacobs’ interns email high school coaches throughout the season and ask if they can send any 2018, 2019 and 2020 names of potential recruits.
  • If the players have film on the website Hudl, the Bison coaches will find their profile. If not, they ask the high school coaches to email any film they have on the player.
  • Spring is a big evaluation period for college coaches. NDSU coaches come back with notes and the team uses a program called ARMS Software, which keeps names, rankings, position, high school, recruiting area and several other pieces of information in one searchable place.
  • Jacobs also receives a lot of film from high school prospects through email.

“I probably get 20-25 (highlight films sent to me) a day. I try to watch all of those just because you never know what can turn up. I get turned off by some of the recruiting services out there. I don’t delete all of them, but I delete some of them because they can be overwhelming. If it comes straight from the kid, I’m going to take the time to watch his film.” – Hank Jacobs

What They Watch for on Film

  • Movement skills is the No. 1 thing coaches watch for
  • Size compared to other people on the field
  • Dimensions on their profile and if it matches up on film
  • Speed
  • Other important factors depending on position: starting and stopping, bending, running hips through contact, etc.



Teams are always looking for an edge in recruiting. Appealing to 17-18-year olds makes a social media presence important. Schools are often sending out graphics or releasing highlight videos to gain interest. While NDSU isn’t looking for players who commit to a school because of these material things, it is a good marketing strategy.

College football recruiting NDSU

For example, a running back out of Washington emailed Jacobs after seeing an NDSU highlight video. He saw the way the Bison run the ball and said, “I like that. Not a lot of schools are doing that out here.”

College football recruiting NDSU

“If a kid comes to NDSU just because we made a graphic of him in a helmet, we’re not exactly interested. I want them to come to NDSU for the correct reasons: getting an education and winning championships being the top two things. Getting them to be a part of the Bison family, winning and having an opportunity at the next level are the types of things we’re looking for in kids. Not necessarily the ones that want to wear a million different uniform combinations and care about graphics.” – Hank Jacobs


How NDSU Programs Success: Recruiting The Next Bison
Subscribe Bison Illustrated Now
Published eight times a year, Bison Illustrated provides a behind-the-scenes look at the Bison community in order to help promote the university’s players, coaches, alumni, supporters, staff and fans.


Copyright © 2021 Spotlight Media, LLC

To Top