ASHLAND—As Charlie Hall approaches year three as Southern Oregon head football coach, he’s knee deep in his second season on the recruiting trail.
"What I learned from last year to this year is that it's about selling myself, selling the university, selling their life opportunity going forward," he said.
The approach has gotten more personal.
"How can we connect to each other? How can we talk about ourselves? How can you talk about yourself?” he said. “Every bit of information I give to you and every bit of information you give to me really breaks down these barriers where we have this better connection."
With recruits on campus from Seattle to Southern California, Hall had each player introduce himself and share a personal belonging that holds special significance.
"I haven't seen that in any of the other schools I visited. It's unique and I think it worked," said Justin Dewitt, a linebacker out of Valley Christian High School in California.
"That's a very elementary school-ish type of thing but relationships start very fundamentally,” Hall said. “We don't want to get real deep at the beginning, so let's sort of scratch the surface of who we are."
Who are these recruits?
There’s a highly touted quarterback in Sawyer Cleveland, who’s from Corvallis and deciding between Southern Oregon, Eastern Oregon and Western Oregon.
There’s Andre Beall, an offensive lineman who went to North Salem High School, is being looked at by Oregon State, and was born in Ashland.
"It would be awesome being born here and then coming back to play football,” he said. “It just kind of has a different kind of vibe than other places that I've been to."
It’s a group that could make up what’ll eventually be the class of 2019—Hall’s second class as SOU head coach.
The approach is a bit more personal, but the pitch is the exact same it’s been for years.
"Relationships,” Hall said. “I really think that this is a place where you're going to grow as a better person, become the best version of yourself, through school, through sports, through the people you know here."