Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Distance no factor for Tide recruits

In a fast-paced recruiting world, the University of Alabama volleyball team slows things down to focus on finding one thing: competitors.

These competitors aren’t always from Alabama. In this year’s case, none are from the state. Instead, players’ hometowns range from Colorado Springs, Colo., to Louisville, Ky.

Recruiting has accelerated and become extremely competitive over the years. Head coach Judy Green said Alabama hasn’t had much trouble keeping up.

“It’s become more difficult with the new early-signing policy,” she said. “There are people committing for the class of 2013. It’s all moving at warp speed, but, if we can get them on campus, then we feel we’ve got them. It’s difficult for people from far away to come here because that creates expenses.

“I’ve seen where sometimes your parents or family and friends are still here and it’s just not the right chemistry for people and then it creates a bad situation,” she said.

Overall, Green said Alabama’s talent pool is growing. More clubs are being created and greater competition is stemming from it.

Location is not what Green focuses on. Instead, she looks at athletic ability and character. She said this slows down the process, but overall it’s worth it.

“It’s easy to evaluate talent, but it’s more of a challenge to evaluate character,” she said.

Sophomore Leigh Moyer grew up close to Tuscaloosa in Peachtree City, Ga. Moyer knew growing up she would end up somewhere in the Southeastern Conference but said she never considered Alabama until she was recruited.

“I didn’t know much about Alabama and their volleyball team,” Moyer said. “But as soon as I stepped on campus I knew it was for me. Back when text messaging [recruits] was legal, in the first message I got from Coach Green, she spelled my name wrong, but I still came so that says something.”

Freshman Brianne Vande Griend said her campus visit also helped her make a final decision. A native of Colorado Springs, Vande Griend said most of her campus visits to other schools were all a blur.

“But I came here, and it was so different,” she said. “The first thing I remember is one of the girls came up and gave me the biggest hug and told me she was so glad I was here. I visited the team and the coaches at a practice, and it was a very memorable trip.”

Club volleyball tournaments are where most coaches do their scouting. Vande Griend said hundreds of coaches would swarm the sidelines during games.

“They get in touch with our club coaches,” she said. “If we are really interested, then we have to make the call.”

Green also said the Alabama staff had to depend on club coaches to mention their program to the players.

“We can’t start contact until July 1 of a player’s senior year,” she said. “We have to depend on coaches to send them to us, to get them to contact us.”

So no matter where the player’s hometown is, Green is only concerned about one thing.

“We want the ultimate competitor,” she said.

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