Jacksonville-area prep football recruiting

Project URL: http://schools.jacksonville.com/football-recruiting/

Position: Jacksonville.com - Data and Projects Developer

Schools.Jacksonville.Com continues to be an awesome project that teaches our team so freakin' much. The PHP/SQL that powers it is flexible and evolving, and what it shows about creating an audience that's really into prep stats is unreal.

Two years ago we did a National Signing Day football database where we logged where all the football recruits were going. It was fine and dandy, but lacked a lot. "Meh!" would probably describe it best.

This year, I wanted to make the site much, much better. So, developed a relational database of all our recruits.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Every student has a unique URL. Simple concept, but it helps us really link and tease to them from our main recruiting stories. This helps with SEO, and creating ways into the database.
  • Everything is powered from a single database, so we can produce a mobile-specific product.
  • Every school, county, college and conference has a unique URL. This also helps with linking and SEO.
  • Unique Omniture/Google Analytics entries. With Caspio, we couldn't tell exactly what was being searched. This new version gives us specific reporting, which will help evolve the project.
  • The data is relational to the rest of Schools.Jacksonville.Com. So, we can list recruits with schools, or football scores. Heck, we could report which schools had the most recruits and highest test scores, if we wanted.
  • Ability to add photos and photos.
  • Ability for the audience to leave comments.

We started promoting the database about two weeks before signing day, in hopes of building some anticipation. Already, we've seen page-view growth from the previous version.

We're making changes to the interface daily because of analytics reporting, so keep checking it out.

After National Signing Day 2010, we plan to keep the database active and build throughout the year. We'll log/report every recruit, and which schools he/she is looking at. Our goal is expand into other sports, not just football, in the near future.

I wrote the front and backend of the database, in the PHP, SQL, HTML and CSS. The commenting engine is based on code from Class Acts, which was done by Developer Kevin Basarab.

Much of the database entry is being handled by Hays Carlyon, the Times-Union rockstar preps editor.

Check it out at http://schools.jacksonville.com/football-recruiting/