RTI contributor Murphy Carlton is the author of this article
Ever since his arrival to the Vols’ coaching staff, tight ends coach Brian Niedermeyer has played a huge role in recruiting for Jeremy Pruitt’s staff.
The man known as “Moose” has landed some big-time recruits for Tennessee in his year-and-a-half on campus, including players like five-star offensive lineman Darnell Wright, four-star athlete Quavaris Crouch, and four-star linebacker Henry To’oto’o.
For his efforts during the 2019 recruiting cycle, Niedermeyer was named the 2019 National Recruiter of the Year by 247Sports, an award Jeremy Pruitt won back in 2013 as well.
But what makes Niedermeyer such a great recruiter? How is he able to get top-rated high school players to choose Tennessee over other top programs in the country?
Tennessee’s ace recruiter spoke with the media on Thursday and shed some light on how he is able to sell the University of Tennessee, and how his age affects his ability to recruit at a high level.
“It’s an easy place to sell,” Niedermeyer said when asked about his pitch for Tennessee to the players of the 2020 class. “You talk about the University of Tennessee. You talk about playing for Jeremy Pruitt. You talk about playing offense for Jim Chaney. We have the best Athletic Director in the country in Phillip Fulmer. I believe that.
“For us, it’s not a hard sell. The community, the people, and the tradition is all pretty unreal.”
Despite Tennessee slipping over the last decade and his first year on campus resulting in a 5-7 season, Niedermeyer believes UT’s program is still an easy sell to recruits. And he’s doing a good job selling that program.
Not only is Niedermeyer using the appeal to play for a program like Tennessee’s and to play for some of the best coaches in the country, he’s also using his innate ability to create strong connections and relationships with the players he’s recruiting.
At just 30 years of age, Niedermeyer is closer in age to players he is recruiting than most of the other coaches around the country who are also recruiting these prospects. This allows him to relate better with these recruits, and he makes it more of a friendship than a business relationship.
Earlier this week, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt joked that Niedermeyer is such a good recruiter because he has nothing else to do with his free time. Niedermeyer isn’t married and doesn’t have any kids, so Pruitt suggested that the young assistant coach uses all his extra time to go recruit.
When asked if Pruitt’s comments were true, Niedermeyer more or less agreed.
“Well, apparently,” Niedermeyer said when asked if Pruitt’s comments were correct. “I think being young is always good to be able to relate to people. More than anything, I think it is about building relationships and identifying with people.
“I’ve lived in so many different places, and it helped me out to understand different people. It’s been good for me, so that’s what I attribute it to.”
Niedermeyer has been able to get players from all across the country to choose to play for the University of Tennessee because he makes them feel like UT is their home away from home. Without Niedermeyer, Tennessee may not have been able to land players like To’oto’o or Wright in the 2019 class.
As far as the 2020 class goes, Niedermeyer’s impact has already been felt. Four-star outside linebacker B.J. Ojulari from Marietta High School committed to Tennessee last week, picking the Vols over LSU and Auburn. Niedermeyer was the primary recruiter for Ojulari, and he helped the Vols pick up a commitment from one of their top-priority players in a late push to edge out previously-favored LSU.
As the primary recruiter for multiple top-rated prospects across the country, Niedermeyer knows how important it is to continue to recruit on a national level. The young coach believes Tennessee’s brand still has the power and influence to reach prospects who live hundreds of miles away from UT’s campus.
“Tennessee is such a national brand that you are recruiting in the Northeast, you are recruiting South Florida, you are recruiting over in California, Seattle, Washington, or any place you talk about recruiting like Las Vegas, Nevada. Any of those places are going to be huge for us. It’s a national brand.
“Tennessee has always had that power, and hopefully we’ll get back to where they were in the 90’s and early 2000’s.”
Vol fans have learned not to count Tennessee out in any recruiting battle if Niedermeyer is involved. He’s shown he can close out a recruitment as good as anyone, and I have a feeling he has a few more he wants to close out before the 2020 class is finished.