As part of a new series, Bourbon Meyer will get to know a few of the writers and bloggers who cover Gator athletics. Today, Dan Thompson sat down with Andrew Spivey, recruiting writer from Gatorcountry to discuss how Andrew got into sports journalism, his time covering the Gators recruiting and how recruiting may change over the next five years.
DT: Andrew, thanks for joining me. Tell me a little bit about your background? How did you get into journalism?
AS: It’s weird as I really didn’t plan it. I coached football for six years and loved every bit of it but it got to the point where I didn’t want to teach school but still wanted to be involved in sports. My last year of coaching was as a student assistant at the University of South Alabama so I had connections with the athletic department. So when I quit I was asked by the sports editor of the school newspaper to write on the football team. I was reluctant at first as I never considered myself the best writer but after talking more about it I accepted the position. After one season of it I fell in love with being a sports writer.
DT: As a graduate of the University of South Alabama, how did you get involved with Gators recruiting and Gator Country?
AS: I always followed Rivals.com and one day I noticed that Mark Wheeler of InsidetheGators was looking for a recruiting writer so I emailed Mark and he offered me an internship being a recruiting writer with Greg Mimbs. I stayed at Rivals for six months when Bernadette King from Gatorcountry contacted me about being a recruiting writer at Gatorcountry with Derek Tyson.
DT: Tell me about your experience covering recruiting. Were you interested in recruiting before working for Gator Country?
AS: Ever since coaching high school football I’ve loved the recruiting process. So it’s something that I have always followed. One of things I will always remember is when CJ Spiller spurned Florida at the last minute to go to Clemson.
As far as my experience in recruiting it’s a blast. At times it gets super busy and you feel like your head is going to explode but all in all it’s fun as people rely on you for information.
DT: What is the highlight of your experience covering recruiting?
AS: The highlight would definitely be the reaction you get from the members of your site when you bring breaking news to the site or tell them good news about the team. Also is just hearing the prospects excitement when they get an offer they want or hearing the excitement in their voice when they commit to a school whether it’s Florida or Alabama or whoever they sign with.
DT: What do you think is the toughest part about your covering high school recruiting?
AS: Reading a kids mind as to whether he is telling you the truth or simply telling you what you want to hear because he knows I work for Gatorcountry. For instance a kid may just tell me he likes Florida a lot because he knows that’s what I’m calling him for instead of telling me that he isn’t very interested in Florida.
DT: Any particular story stand out that people may not know that you covered?
AS: Not really one that no one knows about but I would say the craziest story I’ve ever covered was Stefon Diggs last year. He went from being a dead lock to Florida to being wide open to going passed National Signing Day before eventually signing with Maryland.
DT: During the months preceeding National Signing Day, how many hours do you think you spent on the phone talking to prospects, coaches, analysts and sources?
AS: Following the all-star games in January is when it really picked up. I would wake up about eight in the morning and would be on the phone most of the day until about 9 or 10 at night. That lasted all month until national signing day so I would say I averaged about 8 hours a day on the phone either texting, emailing or talking on the phone.
DT: What are your thoughts on Social Media and recruiting? I wrote this article , but of course that is only my opinion.
AS: My biggest thing with social media is prospects do not understand that everything they say is viewed by thousands and can ultimately affect them in a bad way. But I also think that social media is a good way for fans to get to know recruits which in part makes the fans feel about of the recruit.
DT: How do you think recruiting will change in the next five years?
AS: As you can tell this year the recruiting has taken off at a fast pace as more and more prospects are committing early. I think you will see that continue over the next several years to the point where you hardly see prospects wait until national signing day. The main reason for this is college coaches cannot wait on prospects and end up losing out and being left in the dark like what happened to Florida last year.
DT: What are Andrew Spivey’s future plans?
AS: I love what I do so as long as I can write at Gatorcountry I will stay there.—— Daniel Thompson is a graduate of the University of Florida, with degrees in Political Science and Economics. During his time as an Undergraduate, Thompson worked at the University of Florida Football Recruiting Office for three years. He can be found on Twitter @DK_Thompson and @SND_Gators and manages TheGatorsDaily.com.