A few tips that I learned the hard way....
If you have a young team that is going to struggle, put more practice time into your offense/defense. A slightly above average team ratings-wise that can run the offense-defense cold can beat a lot of teams that are more talented. While it is fun to watch ratings increase, IQ is just as important. And pick one offense and one defense. While it is fun to imagine being able to run all three offenses, being a C- at three offenses is MUCH less effective than being at A-/B+ with just one. And don't be constantly changing offenses/defenses.
At my UW-Stout Tark team, I took my lumps for two years, going 19-37. I played a five man freshman class in pretty much every start and bumped up their O/D practice minutes. By the time those kids were juniors, they were all at B level and we went to the second round of the NT. There isn't a mega-star in the bunch, but they can run the O/D really well and the lack of a superstar makes them tough to defend.
As far as recruiting, home visits are my key. I'll toss in phone calls, but home visits are what I rely on. If the kid turns them down, they don't cost you anything (although if you are too persistent, you will get charged once in a while even if they kid doesn't actually let you in the door). And once a kid accepts your home visits, being considered isn't that far off. If I end up in a recruiting battle and have a good supply of cash, I will use HVs to get a recruit considering me and campus visits to seal the deal.
Stay away from promises unless you know you can keep them. If the recruit will undoubtedly be the best PG on your roster and you are locked in a recruiting battle, promise him the starting spot. But don't use promises for the sake of using promises. Find another way to get him. Why tie your hands if you don't have to?