Cajuns Assistant Head Football Coach Reed Stringer has a reputation as a recruiting guru. Although he is one of the younger coaches on the staff, he has already built up an impressive résumé and reputation.

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Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Canton MS. I grew up a Mississippi State fan. Both my parents and grandparents went to school there.

I played college ball at Division II Delta State University in Cleveland MS. I wasn't quite big enough to play D-1, I had a late growth spurt. I played left offensive tackle. We ended up winning the national championship in 2000. We broke numerous national championship game records. We scored 63 points, and had the most offensive yards, the most rushing yards, and the most first downs ever in a national championship game.

Delta State is where I met Coach Hudspeth. He was offensive coordinator there.

How did you get into coaching?

At Delta State I started 35 straight games, but once I was done playing, I knew I wanted to continue my education. I asked to be a Graduate Assistant in the football department to get my masters paid for. I wanted to go into business, and I really didn't think about coaching.

I was a GA for a little over a year when the head coach at Delta State, Steve Campbell, had taken the job as an O-line coach at Mississippi State. He called one day and offered me a GA spot at MSU. It was sort of a dream come true being a MSU fan all my life.

I took the job, and ended up working under Coach Jackie Sherrill at MSU in 2003. He resigned later that season and Sylvester Croom came on.

All the coaches and grad assistants were nervous at that time because when a new head coach comes in, they change the whole staff.

Coach Croom was really busy because when he took the job at MSU. He was still working as Green Bay's offensive coordinator. Green Bay was in the middle of a playoff run and Coach Croom was moving back and forth between Green Bay and Mississippi.

I gave Coach Croom a sheet of paper with my name and number on it and told him that I knew he was busy and he didn't know the area too well; I told him that if he needed anything to call me.

I guess he liked that because I ended up being his chauffeur for the next couple of months. I brought him here and there, and helped him get things done. I got to spend a lot of time with him. He ended up keeping me on as a GA and then later hired me on as an assistant.

At 25 years old I became the youngest assistant coach in the SEC. Coach Croom expected me to be the best recruiter in the country. I was the tight end coach for 2 years. Then I became the youngest coordinator in the SEC at 27 when I became Special Teams Coordinator.

When Dan Mullen took over for Coach Croom in 2009, he kept me on the staff.

I left for Clemson because of the opportunity. I have very high respect for Coach Dabo Swinney over there and always wanted to be a part of one of his coaching staffs.

Do you still talk to Coach Croom? What's he doing now?

Yes, I talk to him frequently. He is one of my biggest influences.

Right now he is the running backs coach for the St. Louis Rams

How did you end up at UL?

Coach Hudspeth. He is a winner.

He called me when he was thinking about taking this job and asked me if I would be interested in coming. I told him I'd be there the day he got hired if he wanted me to. He's a winner and he wins the right way.

The first time I had heard of Coach Hud was when he was a head coach at Winston High in Mississippi. They were a team that was never really good, but after coach Hud got there they were unbeatable. He has won everywhere he's been.

How was the move?

Funny story.  Hud called me on Thursday December 9th and told me I got the job. He told me he wanted me to be there Sunday. My wife was 38 weeks pregnant at the time. I called her doctor and he said it would be OK for us to drive from Clemson to Starkville. We made the eight hour drive to Starkville, then I drove to Lafayette by myself, then drove back to Starkville three days later and had the baby. A lot happened in that week.

Luckily, the way the recruiting calendar is set up, the contact time ended around the time I got hired, everything took place during a dead period.

But while I was in Starkville, I stopped by a high school because I knew a few of the coaches. The coaches ended up turning me on to a 6'5 230 DE that nobody else knew about. That kid ended up signing here. It worked out pretty good for us. He was a rare find, a guy who is the real deal that slipped through the cracks. In two years every SEC school will be wondering why they didn't sign him.

What does it take to be a good recruiter?

The biggest thing is continuous hard work and big-time relationship development. Recruiting is all about relationships. People think its just about the kid, but it's more than that. It's people around the kid, the principle, the coach, the girlfriend, the mama. We try to find out who is the kid's 'champion', the person they turn to for advice. Some kids go straight to mama, some kids go to grandma, some kids go to their coach. Through continuous hard work and paying close attention you can find out who those people are and create a relationship with them.

And you have to be genuine, you have to care about these kids. Its not just a piece of meat you are bringing in, you have to push them, care about them, love them, give them whatever they need. Some kids need to be loved, some need to be pushed, some need a role model. Each kid is different. You have to take time and you have to care. You can't fabricate it.

When you go into a kid's home and you look him in the eye, and you look his champion in the eye, you can't trick them. They will see right through it.

We are looking for kids with the character, the ability, and the work ethic. We expect a lot out of them but in the end, if they do everything we ask them to, they will be successful in so many different ways it will all be worth it.

One of the biggest things about recruiting is evaluation of talent. I've recruited many kids that no one else was looking at, kids that people questioned that ended up being great players. I pride myself on my evaluation skills.

I read a book about 4 years ago called Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell. In the book Gladwell said the most efficient machine on this planet is the human brain. You need to trust your first instinct. We spend so much time finding reasons to go against our instincts. I've learned to really trust my gut instinct on kids. It's not fool proof, but it has been very successful for me. I know what to look for in kids. I still do my research, but I've noticed that learning to trust yourself is important.

Why should a recruit come to UL?

This place is amazing. This city, the people down here, how nice they are, the way they look you in the eye and shake your hand. Being from Mississippi, I feel like I'm at home.

And the city has so much to offer. There is so much to do and it offers so many different things. I was shocked at how nice the city was and how nice the school was. We feel like all we have to do is get a kid here, and he's going to have a hard time not coming here.

We feel like we have as much or more to offer a kid than any other school in the state. Not to mention the respected degree that you will end up with when you graduate.

How do you like the city so far? Do you have a favorite restaurant?

We were going full speed with recruiting when I got here, and now we are full speed with Spring football practice, I haven't had much time to get out in the city. I haven't even been downtown yet. I'm hoping that sometime around Spring break I'll be able to go downtown and explore. I hear there is a restaurant called Tsunami that I need to try.

Right now my favorite thing to do is coming up to work everyday. We bought a house in Youngsville at Sugar Mill Pond recently. Real nice place, nice neighborhood, lots of kids.

My favorite restaurant so far is Prejean's. We go there anytime we get somebody in town that we want to take out. We also go to Randol's. Oh, and Olde Tyme Grocery, the shrimp po'boy over there, man that thing is good.

Reed Stringer is a really cool name.

I guess. I've never really heard that. My kids are named Smith Stringer and Banks Stringer. We call them the law firm. When I call my wife I ask her how the law firm is doing.

And they are both in the 99th percentile for height and weight.

So will they be Ragin' Cajuns one day?

This really is a great game that teaches you so many lessons. I hope my kids choose to be apart of it and I hope any kid would choose to be apart of it. It teaches you about working with people and achieving. Not only that, but it teaches you to be tough. This world needs more tough people. Not just physically tough but mentally tough. Bad things happen. You have to learn how to get through it.

People here have so much pride in Lafayette, so much pride in their city. Everyone here wants to see UL to be a winner. That is the feeling we get from the people in town.

We need to get people to games. We want to put out a team that plays hard, gives lots of effort, and they can be proud of. Because when we win, we are taking everybody, we are going to New Orleans for the New Orleans Bowl, and we are going to turn the city Vermillion & White.

We are going to take this conference and not give it back.

Sam Stokes is a senior in Media Advertising at UL. He plays guitar with T-Ray & Sam, and attends almost every Cajuns sporting event he can.  To read more of his writings, click on his name at the top of this article.


Reed Stringer joined the Cajuns in 2011 to serve as assistant head coach, tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator.

Prior to working at Louisiana, Stringer served as the offensive player development coach at Clemson in 2010.

Before his time with the Tigers, Stringer spent seven seasons at Mississippi State in a variety of roles. He began as a graduate assistant with the Bulldogs offense, primarily working with the offensive line from 2003-2004. Stringer was then named the tight ends and special teams coach from 2005-08. He took over as the coordinator of recruiting operations at Mississippi State for head coach Dan Mullen in 2009. Stringer coached alongside current Cajuns head coach Mark Hudspeth during the 2009 season for the Bulldogs.

Considered to be a relentless and effective recruiter, rated Stringer among the "SEC's Top 10 Recruiters" for 2009. He was personally responsible for recruiting 13 student-athletes for the highly revered '09 MSU class and his recruiting efforts were a major reason for MSU's quick turnaround under Coach Mullen.

Before being named to his recruiting coordinator position, Stringer spent four seasons as the tight ends coach, adding special teams coordinator duties in his final two seasons.

As tight ends coach, Stringer responded in 2005 by helping Eric Butler become the school's all-time touchdown receptions leader among tight ends with seven scoring catches. In 2007, his tight end corps combined for the most receptions by the position at MSU since 1990. Under Stringer's guidance, Butler and teammate Dezmond Sherrod worked their ways to professional football careers.

His impact was also felt immediately with the special teams. After his average dipped by nearly four yards per punt between his freshman and sophomore seasons, punter Blake McAdams returned to the 40-yard threshold in 2007. Placekicker Adam Carlson, who made just 8-of-16 field goals in his first two seasons at MSU, improved to make 9-of-12 opportunities. Even more improvement was made by the Bulldogs coverage units, which reduced both kickoff return and punt return yardage against. In 2008, return specialist Derek Pegues finished his career as the SEC's all-time kickoff return yardage leader.

Stringer's coaching career began as a graduate assistant/tight ends coach at Delta State in 2002.

He was a four-year letterman on Delta State's offensive line, helping DSU claim the 2000 NCAA Division II national championship with then-DSU offensive coordinator Mark Hudspeth. Stringer concluded his career with 35 consecutive starting assignments at left tackle. In addition to that '00 national title, he was also instrumental in helping Delta State win the 1998 and 2000 Gulf South Conference championships. Stringer was a two-time academic All-Gulf South Conference player and an Academic All-American and was named to the GSC Academic Honor Roll three times.

He earned a Bachelor's in business management from Delta State in 2001 and completed a Master's in business administration from Delta State in 2003. Stringer was born on January 26, 1979 in Canton, Miss. He is married to the former Emily Howell and they have two sons, Smith and Banks.

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