May 21, 2024

Tradition. Character. These words players consider vital to the Wittenberg football team. Wittenberg is known for its football tradition. With an all-time record of 736 wins, the tigers have the second-highest victory total in NCAA Division III schools. To help in the continuation of this tradition, an important aspect is the recruiting process.
“Recruiting has everything to do with the future of the program,” stated coach Fincham, head coach of the Tiger football team.
During the recruiting process, prospective students have opportunities to contact the coaches, as well as come for visits. Some visits consist of campus tours, overnight stays and face-to-face conversations with players and coaches. These visits are mainly for the recruits to get a feel for the campus, players, and the coaching staff.
With the recruiting process underway, campus has been flooded with football recruits each day of the week, as well as the weekends. You see them during lunch, in the weight room or even taking tours on campus with other prospective students. It is almost as if the recruits are taking over campus. This is due to the success of the football program, and past recruiting.
Coach Hoyng, offensive coordinator, stated: “I’ve been here two years, but we are generating more success in the program, and the recruits are coming more and more because of the excelling program.”
Though the recruits can be overwhelming to Witt students in their presence, the increase in attraction has helped the continuing tradition for football. With graduating seniors who played in vital positions, the incoming recruiting class is important.
Fincham stated, “We hope this class will be a talented class and motivated class. All classes that come in have big shoes to fill because of the tradition that is in our department. Specifically with this class, we graduated a pretty talented senior class, and there are opportunities for some young people to compete.”
As seen, the football team is in search of great talent in this recruiting class, especially in some of the most vital positions.
“Need to replace running backs (RB), wide receiver (WR), and quarterbacks (QB),” says Hoyng.
With senior standouts graduating such as Zach Jenkins (QB), Sean Gary (RB), Jimmy Dehnke (RB), CoSIDA All-American Corey Stump (WR) and the third team defensive lineman Josh Bannick, recruits and underclassmen have big shoes to fill.
As well as filling the big shoes of the graduating seniors, the recruits are expected to fill the expectations of being a well-rounded person with a good character.
With some recent news in the NFL such as Ray Rice or in Division I football with Jameis Winston, character plays a big role in the recruiting process.
“I think the first thing is finding good people. People who have good character; people who aspire to be successful in the classroom and athletically,” stated Fincham.
Coach Hoyng states they are expecting recruits to be “accountable and doing the right things.”
“I expect incoming recruits to be highly competitive student-athletes,” Williams said.
The recruits may come in masses, but not all of them can live up to the Tiger expectations players say. Being a Tiger is more than just winning; it’s also attaining the meaning of being a good citizen, athlete and person.
With incoming recruits sharing the zeal of athletics with other athletes on campus and showing signs of being a person of good character, they can help keep the family environment of campus, as well as enhance it. Not just enhancing the atmosphere, but broadening the demographics of campus as well.
Gary Williams, the athletic director, stated: “They [coaching staff] have consistently brought in classes of students and athletes that meet the expectations of the university and have diversified our markets, and helped provide us opportunities to improve our diversity on campus.”
The recruitment process seems to be headed in the right direction, as well as creating a better atmosphere demographically on campus.
With the increased attraction of football recruits and publicity drawn because of the success of the football program, the team is expected to have another traditional winning season. Being NCAC conference champions six times in the last decade and with a record of 164-37 under the leadership of  Fincham, the Tigers continue to recruit a winning team.

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