By Eric Gilmore
The travel itinerary sounded like something out of a Chevy Chase "Vacation" movie. Only this was Cal football coach Jeff Tedford on the recruiting trail before February's letter-of-intent day, not Clark Griswold and his family on their way to Walley World. On a Sunday morning, Tedford flew to Bakersfield. That afternoon he caught another flight to Phoenix. The next morning, he was on a plane to Chicago. Then Philadelphia, where he rented a car and drove to Trenton, N.J., then drove back to Philadelphia. Where he got on another plane and flew to Nashville that night. On Tuesday, Tedford was off to Dallas. Then Las Vegas. And finally, he flew home to the Bay Area. "I saw six recruits, but I had to go to eight places," Tedford said from his office earlier this year. "I had to go from Philadelphia to Nashville to see (one) kid's mom." Tedford's whirlwind recruiting trip is just one snapshot of the never-ending, big-budget quest for football talent that goes on at Division I colleges throughout the country. For coaches, recruiting is the equivalent of a second full-time job in addition to the glamorous one showcased on Saturdays each fall at stadiums throughout the nation. Recruiting can be the difference between bowl games and unemployment, between sweet success and bitter failure.
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