EA Sports' NCAA Football '14 will be influenced to some degree by the West Virginia Mountaineers -- the video game's developers met with WVU director of football operations Alex Hammond and recruiting coordinator Ryan Dorchester last summer to discuss the nuts and bolts of recruiting.
EA will implement some changes to the next iteration of its college football franchise based on the meeting with those coaches, and West Virginia plans to actually use that fact as a recruiting tool.
The two coaches spent some time playing with the recruiting aspect of the game and offered their thoughts to EA's staff about potential changes to make the recruiting process seem more like the real thing. Selling a kid on your school based on the fact that you consulted for a video game probably won't be among the changes, though.
Expect recruiting to be more realistic. That was the only goal Hammond and Dorchester had. They found it odd a player never de-committed. They noticed variables like academics, coaching changes and the success of a season weren't factored into the process. They didn't think junior college recruits were represented in ways that explain their value.
The game's developers approached West Virginia in part because of some of the unique recruiting challenges the school faces. They felt they might learn more from a school that has to get creative in recruiting versus, say, Texas, which has an easier time of attracting top talent and need not venture far to do so. Game producer Christian McLeod:
"One thing that struck us was how well West Virginia recruits the state of Florida," McLeod said. "Look at Morgantown and the snow and cold. How do they come in and steal kids from the sunny warmth of Florida? I'm from the north and I'd never go back there after living (in Florida)."
That's the sort of thing that proved enlightening for the game's developers, though for now at least, EA isn't divulging specifics about the changes it is making to the game as a result of its meeting with the two West Virginia coaches.