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Recruiting VA, border states remains important for JMU during FBS transition

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 6:18 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - As the James Madison football team begins its transition to the FBS, recruiting remains a top priority for the Dukes.

During a recent interview with local media members, JMU head coach Curt Cignetti said the Dukes’ coaching staff is focusing most of its time right now on recruiting high school players and finding potential additions to the roster from the NCAA transfer portal.

JMU is in the midst of making a move to the Sun Belt Conference, an FBS league based in the south. The change in leagues opens up a new area of recruiting for the Dukes. The SBC features teams from Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi. However, Cignetti says recruiting high school players and transfers from Virginia and border states, like North Carolina and Maryland, remains the main focus of the JMU coaching staff.

“The best chance you have to get a great player, the closer he is to you,” said Cignetti. “The closer he is, the more you know about him or can find out about him. I think we are very blessed to have a state where there’s a lot of talent...but by the same token, if you have to go to south Florida for a corner(back), then you gotta go to south Florida for a corner. Might you get a guy from Alabama now? Who knows. But it all starts in that six hour radius.”

James Madison signed 19 high school players during the 2021 early signing period with 13 of them coming from either Virginia or states that border the Commonwealth.

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