A typical off-season day for Castleton University’s defensive line coach David Gregory begins at the crack of dawn.
While pouring out a fresh cup of joe in one hand, he’s checking his emails with the other. In only eight years, Castleton University has brought in hundreds of college football athletes from across the nation – and it doesn’t just happen.
Gregory has been working countless hours during the recruiting process to bring in the best candidates that will help bolster the team.
“It’s an absolute blast going across the New England region and trying to find the cream of the crop,” Gregory said.
Coming off a rough 2016 season, Gregory’s off-season job is to bring top-quality football players to Castleton to try to attain the still unclaimed goal of becoming Eastern Colligate Football Conference champions.
In a typical offseason, he gets around 150 players to contact and each will receive emails and phone calls about the program.
Only 20 of those contacts will turn into overnight visits and roughly 10 athletes will sign, he said. When asked what sets his recruiting process apart from other coaches, Gregory laughed while rubbing his sweaty palms together and said, “it’s all about honesty.”
“At the end of the day, I look for two main traits in a recruit; attitude and effort,” he said.
On the other side of the recruiting process are the players getting the pitch to come to CU.
“They called me all the time,” said freshman offensive lineman Mitch Saunders.
As a high school senior, the Connecticut native said he was amazed by the athletic facility when he came to visit on his recruiting trip.
“This university truly cares about its athletic department and it comes to show just looking at the high quality, state-of-the-art facilities,” he said.
As Saunders spoke about the program and his recruiting process, his smile and tone of voice became upbeat and positive, like he was giving a motivational halftime speech.
“The main subject that sold me here was the amazing fitness facility the university has. I fell in love with the strength and conditioning coach and I haven’t looked back since,” he said.
Senior Linebacker Troy Dane also talked about his journey playing at the collegiate level at Castleton.
“I remember coming out of practice one day and receiving a call from Coach Mac. Them being the first school who showed interest was definitely a confidence booster,” he said.
Dane also spoke about the importance of recruiting to ensure that the coaching staff brings in the best athletes for the program.
“At the end of the day, I understand the coaching staff is looking to bring in athletes who will eventually take my job. Competition only brings out the true DIESEL in me,” Dane says as he raised both hands to the sky.
The Castleton Spartan football team has had a dynamic offseason thus far. Only time will tell if the incoming recruits will help rebound the team back into the right track.
Gregory says “we’re gonna get after it this year and give it everything we got.”