Valley Vista offensive lineman Andrew Rumary entered the fall with nine scholarship offers from Football Bowl Subdivision schools — aka the schools on television every Saturday in fall.
In early February he signed with a smaller Football Championship Subdivision school that while still in Division I is not well known. Yet after some reflection, Rumary does not look at his recruitment as a missed opportunity.
After dealing with sudden winter coaching changes, scholarships filled within a week and making up missed classwork, the big man wanted academics, solid football and stability. He found all three — in the last week before signing day — in the University of California-Davis.
“UC-Davis was kind of big city but you’re in the country too. It was a week before signing day. I had a call with the head coach on a Thursday afternoon, Thursday night my flight was set up and I left at 10 a.m. Friday. It was really quick. I didn’t even have an offer with them when I left,” Rumary said. “They have always taken recruiting really slow,”
One of the biggest-name schools to offer Rumary did not take recruiting slow.
“Iowa State offered me and then they filled up in like three days. They’re like, ‘Take your time.’ And then they filled up right away,” Rumary said.
Arizona was the other school from one of the power five conferences to offer him.
He said he loved the Arizona coaching staff, but a year after his offer an assistant that would have coached him was gone. He also realized through recruiting by the Wildcats and NAU that he was more likely to select an out-of-state-school.
“I went to U of A three times and though, yeah I guess I could live here. I went to UC-Davis and I didn’t even think about the football. It was so nice,” Rumary said. “They said that the average starting salary for a football player coming out of there is like $100,000.”
While the facilities and perks of being on a football scholarship may not have matched Arizona or Iowa State, Rumary quickly realized life at an FCS school was not so bad.
“Once you see the facilities, there’s not much difference. He told me his card at UC Davis is all you can eat meals and they have an unlimited sushi bar,” Sekoch said.
Sekoch said Rumary’s recruiting process was almost identical to that of his last major offensive line prospect, Creston Cooledge, in 2016.
Like Rumary, Cooledge was a target of several Mountain West Conference schools but signed with a Big Sky university. In Cooledge’s case it was Weber State.
“Some of the same schools. Andy forgot to mention that five of the schools had coaching changes,” Sekoch said. “Some of the schools filled up because they thought he wouldn’t be available. At other schools, I think Andy will tell you, the fit — not just football-wise but going to the school — wasn’t there. And it was similar to Creston because he held out for Colorado — and then they flipped a guy from Ohio State. Creston had one visit left and it was Weber State. Andy went back to some schools who said they were full. Basically Scott Huff at Washington gave UC-Davis the heads up.”
Cooledge did not have to deal with as many coaching changes as Rumary. Four Mountain West schools that offered him — Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV — had a new head coach and largely different staff in place by the time the recruiting process ended.
One change in particular shook up his plans to commit.
“You think you’re going to San Diego State and you’re trying to commit and they have a head coaching change out of nowhere. And then the coach that they change to wants to maybe look at JUCO guys that are ready to play quicker. The style changes,” Rumary said.
All the changes and the looming Feb. 5 signing day meant that after winter break it got crazy.
Rumary said one of the cool things was getting pulled out of class every day. But it was also frustrating because he would have to make up stuff.
“One week I only went to like four classes,” Rumary said.
Yet academics is the primary attraction of UC-Davis. Last year Money Magazine ranked the campus as one of the five best public universities in the United States.
When he visited the campus he learned the Aggies were building a brand new football facility, from players, not coaches. The coaching staff focused academics and family feel.
Rumary said he is interested in managerial economics or possibly criminal justice.
“Coach (Dan) Hawkins is really energetic. Coach Keane, it looks like he really tries to get the o-line group closer. That’s probably the tightest offensive line group I’ve ever seen,” Rumary said. “The head coach, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach all played there, and they all raised families there so you can see how they’re raising their family. They talked about not wanting to move around.”
Hawkins previously coached at Boise State and Colorado, which adds an air of legitimacy.
Sekoch said he thinks Rumary made the best choice — picking the school and education instead of getting attached to a coach or a big-name football program where he might be just another offensive lineman.
At UC-Davis Rumary’s commitment raised their recruiting ranking into the top to of FCS schools. And after a redshirt year, the path is clear for him to play left or right tackle.
“I tell them early on that I’m not a fan of any of the colleges. I’m an Andy Rumary or Creston Cooledge fan or Myles Spearman — who we sent to Western Illinois,” Sekoch said. “I know at one point Andy felt disappointed that he wasn’t going to a ‘name’ school. But I got him to see that by going to UC-Davis, he upped their recruiting class. They look at him as a steal and a left tackle. Big Sky or Mountain West, it doesn’t matter at that point. It’s more about your education.”