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Record recruiting class

Even with a history that extends back to 1893, never before has Hampden-Sydney College’s (H-SC) football program had as many members in a recruiting class as this year.

The incoming group, slated to graduate in 2021, is composed of 64 student-athletes.

“We rolled our sleeves up, and we felt we needed to bring in a strong class and a big class,” Tigers Head Coach Marty Favret said. “Our recent numbers had kind of waned a little bit, and I just challenged my staff, and we got lucky with some real good weather on some recruiting weekends, and I really felt we just kind of outworked some of our competitors and brought in a great class.”

Favret said the previous largest class to come in during his time as coach had been a group of 48 in 2001.

The Tigers are looking to rebound from a rare losing season after going 3-7 in 2016.

Highlighting his staff that helped make the program’s record-breaking recruitment possible, Favret pointed to Recruiting Coordinator Zeke Traylor, Wes Dodson, Joey Partin and Penn Stephenson.

Favret himself was also a key figure in the process.

“I think I did 16 home visits,” he said. “As I get older, I become more the closer, but yeah, I was involved in the majority of particularly the top-level kids.”

According to an H-SC press release, the class of 64 newcomers is comprised of student-athletes from seven states, spanning from Florida to Maryland.

Favret said that driving Hampden-Sydney’s recruiting efforts is the overnight visit.

“We overnight all our kids, and we want them to get a feel for what the social life’s like, what it’s like being at an all-male school,” the coach said. “So, those weekends are critical.”

He said there were five of those overnights — one in December and four between January and March.

“And that’s kind of the key to our success is getting them on campus and showing them our beautiful facilities and our beautiful campus,” Favret said. “And a lot of people contributed. We had admissions people help us with that and professors, and it was a team effort.”

Though some players may have been identified by his staff earlier, the on-campus recruiting process ran from December to around March, Favret said.

He noted that it is important to be measured in expectations for the newcomers, “but we hope they can come in and help us win football games sooner than later. And there are 18-year-olds playing against 22-year-olds, but there’s some real talent, and there’s some kids that certainly are going to push our guys, and we need it. And I would be surprised if we don’t see a few freshmen starting for us next year, which is something I haven’t said in 15 years.”

The Tigers lost 21 seniors from the 2016 roster due to graduation.