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UTSA Roadrunners: Jenna Learn New Director of Recruiting


UTSA Roadrunners fans cheer during the first quarter against the Marshall Thundering Herd in December 2023.
© Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

The UTSA Roadrunners are reportedly headed in a new direction when it comes to recruiting. According to Chris Hummer at 247Sports, UTSA is planning to hire Jenna Learn from the Michigan State Spartans to be their new Director of Recruiting. The essential functions of the position are overseeing the day-to-day operations of recruiting including coordinating all unofficial visits, official visits, Junior Days, etc.



 

Who is Jenna Learn?


Learn graduated from South Florida in 2022 with a bachelor's degree in Integrated Public Relations and Advertising. As she was earning her degree at USF, she started her college football career as a football operations and event intern from February 2021 to April 2022. She began her full-time role as a football operations and recruiting coordinator in May 2022 and served in that role until June 2023, when she took the Director of On-Campus Recruiting position at Michigan State.



With new coach Jonathan Smith arriving at MSU from Oregon State, changes to the coaching and overall staff were expected. Learn will make the transition to UTSA after spending one year at MSU and she appears to be in demand in the profession for this role, moving to her third program in only two years.


Michigan State Spartans quarterback Andrew Schorfhaar hands off the ball to running back Davion Primm.
© David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

 

how well did teams recruit with learn on staff?


The table below displays the On3 recruiting class rankings, both nationally and within their respective conferences, for the two previous schools where Learn worked. Initially, the rankings may seem discouraging when Learn was on staff, as South Florida and Michigan State experienced declines in their national rankings, with Michigan State experiencing a significant drop in its conference ranking. However, it is important to note that Michigan State's class was negatively impacted by the termination of head coach Mel Tucker's contract for cause on September 18th, 2003, and Jonathan Smith was not officially named as the new head coach until November 28th, 2023.


Given that South Florida's rankings remained relatively flat, and Michigan State underwent a head coaching change, little can be inferred from the table below, given its small sample size. If Learn spends multiple seasons at UTSA in her new role, it will provide a more reliable dataset for analysis at a later date.

Recruiting Class

School

National Rank

Conference Rank

Learn on Staff

2022

South Florida

78th

7th (AAC)

No

2023

South Florida

80th

7th (AAC)

Yes

2023

Michigan State

23rd

4th (Big Ten)

No

2024

Michigan State

43rd

12th (Big Ten)

Yes


 

what does this hire mean for the Utsa Roadrunners?


The Roadrunners had what appears to be a lackluster offseason, especially given where they landed in the overall recruiting rankings for their 2024 class. In addition, the Roadrunners did not add a quarterback in the recruiting class or the transfer portal, so that remains a pressing need before the start of the season. One of the main goals of this hire has to be to re-energize their recruiting efforts and take advantage of an external hire's new ideas and perspectives.


Learn's experience in Florida, a key recruiting state, gained during her time at USF, provides her with valuable knowledge and connections. Her time at MSU is expected to offer similar benefits, especially if the Roadrunners aim to tap their beaks into the Midwest's talent pool. It is refreshing to see a third college football program acknowledge Learn's abilities and potential for the role, breaking away from the traditional norms of a predominantly male-dominated field.



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