By TAYLOR DENMAN firstname.lastname@example.org
There are some benefits to casting a wide net.
College of Coastal Georgia women's basketball coach Roger Hodge has taken that strategy into recruiting his first class as the Lady Mariners' head coach.
CCGA announced last week it has rounded out its signing class with 11 players. The makeup of the class is diverse. There are seven freshman, coming to CCGA straight from the prep ranks, and four college transfers. Seven of the 11 recruits have some sort of tie to Georgia. Two played for the same AAU team, the Tennessee Fight, coached by one of Hodge's former Armstrong State players, Tasha Bonham.
The class also includes one international recruit. Solrun Gisladottir was the first to join the 2017 recruiting class from Flengsborg High School and Haukar Basketball Club in Hafnarfjordur, Iceland.
The large class will make for a crowded roster next season, which has its positives and negatives. A small school like Coastal faces the practical inevitability of attrition, and the fewer opportunities available at the varsity level could increase the amount of transfers leaving after next season, and Hodge said himself that keeping the class together is one of the keys to developing those players into a successful unit.
But the obvious positive takeaway is the theoretically positive correlation between the classes size and the upside and versatility of the athletes.
While there are a handful of experienced college players that can fill roles in the short term, the wealth of incoming freshmen provide solutions in the long tern and something to build on.
"(The summer) has been very busy, but there's been a lot of fun and excitement," Hodge said. "The advantages I see is the class is really young. ... To me that's an advantage because you bring a group in together, watch them grow and gain experience. They're a talented group of kids and I think they have an opportunity, if they grow and work, to do something special."
Hodge is clearly excited about the youth of the 2017 recruiting class, but it's too early to tell how many true freshmen will actually make an impact on CCGA's squad this season.
CCGA's coach said there is the potential for the Mariner women to roll out a young roster next season, in the best interest of the class' development.
"I anticipate several of those freshmen being able to come in and play, and the style we want to play is going to require us to play a lot of players anyway," Hodge said.
Hodge said his goal is to win championships at CCGA, which will play in The Sun Conference for the first time this season, and he believes an ambitious first recruiting class is the first major step.
If the CCGA staff's recruiting methods prove effective this season, they'll also have to continue. As the diverse 11-player class of 2017 indicates, the CCGA staff has no shortage of pipelines to attract recruits. said. These days, it's as easy to read the stats or watch highlights of a potential target as it is for a player to reach out to the school, perhaps, seeking a specific academic program. Hodge recalled the advice he received during his first coaching job.
"Recruiting is like breathing. You have to do a little bit of it all the time if you want to survive."