Football recruiting coordinators at various colleges across the nation are the backbone the programs.

University of Alabama at Birmingham recruiting coordinator Ross Robinson talked to The Times on Thursday afternoon and shared the duties that go into his job and the entire recruiting process.

Q: How would you rate UAB's recruiting class this season? What players might have a chance to play early?

A: This is by far the best class ever at UAB. The last three classes we have had, just keep getting better. This class is the best we have had with both academics and talent.

We lost a lot at the wide receiver position and I can see Courtney Smith (Prattville), Jared White (Mobile) and Mike Jones (Nashville) all having a chance to play next season. But other than that, I don't see it. We have a lot of kids coming back. It will definitely be a senior heavy team.

Q: What are your duties as a recruiting coordinator?

A: I organize the recruiting process and am in charge of assigning different coaches to different areas within the state and Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and a little bit in Tennessee.

Each coach brings a list of prospects from their area and the staff ranks them. We continually update these rankings.

I also setup the letters we mail out and recruiting weekends for prospective football recruits during the season.

Q: With the 2005-06 recruiting season ending on Wednesday, when do coaches start the process over for the 2007 class?

A: The coaches get Thursday, Friday and the weekend off, but come back on Monday and start recruiting again. Recruiting is something that never ends. On Monday, I will update our list of junior prospects and prepare mail outs.

The last week of April through May, all our traveling coaches go to high schools and visit with the coaches. They can't talk to the players, but talk to the coaches about prospects on their teams.

Our coaches go to every high school in the state of Alabama, whether they have a prospect on their team or not.

Q: Does UAB recruit for need at a certain position or attempt to land the best available athletes?

A: We always recruit for need first. We have to fill our positions of need before anything else with the scholarship limitations.

But we try to leave room for two spots at the end and pick up a player that fell off the table from one of the big schools like Alabama, Auburn and Georgia.

Q: How useful are summer camps organized by colleges?

A: Camps are vital, because you can get kids on campus and personally eyeball their athletic ability.

We don't draw the same numbers as Alabama and Auburn, but have signed at least two kids each year that we picked out from camp.

Our camp is becoming big for us and has grown each year.

Q: How much do coaches use recruiting services like Scout and Rivals? Do coaches ever notice stars or rankings?

A: We don't really use recruiting services or rankings. Some services have a kid as a four star, while other another seems him as a two star. We see some kids that are three stars and they aren't even close to that.

Our coaches watch kids on film or in person and evaluate them.

We don't mind at the end of the recruiting season when we see our name pretty high in a ranking. That's when it's pretty good.

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