Back in February, Tennessee tight ends coach Brian Niedermeyer was named National Recruiter of the Year by 247 Sports. A raise and contract extension soon followed.
Niedermeyer has proven to be one of the Vols biggest weapons on the recruiting trail since joining Jeremy Pruitt’s staff in 2018 by way of Alabama. Pruitt’s inaugural class finished as the 21st best in the country despite the fact that he and his staff had been on the job for less than two months.
The 2019 class improved even more, coming in just outside of the top ten at No. 12 and included a pair of five star offensive linemen.
So what is the secret to Niedermeyer’s success? His boss says it’s simple: young and single with nothing better to do.
“I think, No. 1, he’s young,” Pruitt said. “He’s not married, so what else does he have to do? It’s not like he’s got a wife to go home to or any kids to go home to, so what does he do? He recruits. He builds relationships.”
On Thursday, Niedermeyer, 31, credited his age as one of the reasons he’s found success in relating to young high school players. More importantly, it’s been about relationship building with those players.
“I think being young is always good to be able to relate to people,” Niedermeyer said. “More than anything, I think it’s about building relationships and identifying with people. I’ve lived in so many different places, it helped me out to understand different people. It has been good for me.”
Tennessee currently holds the No. 22 class according to 247 Sports with 15 total commits and plenty of room available for more.
Niedermeyer, who says he never thought about his recruiting abilities, attributes those abilities on the recruiting trail simply to hard work.
“I never thought about it,” Niedermeyer said. “I just show up to work everyday. I’ve never given it much thought. There was no plan, no thought. I just show up to work and do what I can.”
But Niedermeyer’s work isn’t just limited to going into living rooms throughout the south and beyond to sell Tennessee, he also has an on-field role coaching the tight ends.
Heading up the tight end position is senior Dominic Wood-Anderson, who came to Tennessee last season as a JUCO transfer. Between his junior campaign and now, Niedermeyer has noticed a difference in Wood-Anderson’s play beyond running routes and catching the ball. He seems to be doing all of the other things that go with this position better.
“Coming in from being a quarterback in high school and really, a stand-up receiver, being able to put his hand in the ground and really do all the facets,” Niedermeyer said. “He can protect really well, he can run-block well and he can obviously catch the ball very well. Just being a complete tight end and really developing for the next level.”
Those abilities, says Niedermeyer, fit the scheme of new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, who has a history of prominently featuring the tight end in his offense.
“He definitely fits into our offense well,” Niedermeyer said. “He is really good for Coach Chaney’s plan in the future using tight ends. He’s always had great tight ends in all of his offenses. (Wood-Anderson) fits in well.”
Like everyone else affiliated with the Tennessee football program, from head coach to the players, Niedermeyer shares in the opinion that Chaney’s knowledge of the game has been beneficial to the Vols.
Coaching within Chaney’s offense has allowed Niedermeyer to see Chaney’s knowledge of offense first hand, and it’s something he hopes to learn in his own coaching career.
“He is a very intelligent man,” Niedermeyer said. “Jim Chaney is very smart. He does a great job identifying matchups, identifying personnel. He has been different everywhere he’s been. I think that he really works to what he has. He’s done it a long time. I hope to learn a lot from him.”