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Lessons From Vanderbilt: Using Academics As A Recruiting Weapon

Great article from SI's Andy Staples about how Vanderbilt coach James Franklin has successfully used Vandy's academics as a recruiting weapon.

So why has Franklin's pitch worked better? Because Franklin doesn't rely solely on graduation-rate charts. He challenges a player's manhood. "If you feel that you are the best and the brightest, come prove it with me week in and week out," Franklin told on Wednesday. "If you're afraid of competition, then you'd better not be playing major division football, and you'd better not be considering the SEC."

The Commodores landed three highly touted recruits over the weekend, turning some heads in the uber-competitive SEC. Of course, competitors and rival coaches will be quick to point out that it's too hard academically to go to a Vanderbilt or a Boston College. Franklin has a response to that, too:

"Is it too hard? That's what people use against us," Franklin said. "Don't go to Vanderbilt. It's too hard academically. Well, what are they telling you? What are they saying to you when they say don't go to Vanderbilt because it's too hard academically?" The answer is obvious; in not so many words, Franklin has just convinced a recruit that a competing coach thinks the player is too stupid to succeed at Vandy." 

While I have no idea the type of things Spaz and the recruiting team are saying to recruits in the living room, I hope that a similar message is being delivered for BC.

Clearly Boston College doesn't have as much of an academic edge as Vanderbilt in the SEC or Northwestern in the Big Ten. BC ranked 31st in the latest US News & World Report rankings, behind Duke (9), Virginia (25), Wake Forest (25) and North Carolina (30) in the ACC. Where BC does have a big edge, however, is in the Atlantic Division, with academics ranked well ahead of Maryland (56), Clemson (64), Florida State (104) and N.C. State (111).

I, for one, appreciate the approach that Franklin is taking here. This is an approach that has also worked in recent years for Harbaugh at Stanford. What do you think of this approach? Can BC continue to have success recruiting smart while competing against Florida State, N.C. State and Clemson in the Atlantic?