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Friday, February 09, 2007

Recruiting Postmortem

It's over. And all I have to say is...

Thank goodness. Because the college football recruiting process brings out the very worst among coaches and, more and more often, the players.

During the season, coaches often claim that playing college football is about more than college football, trotting out the cliches like "molding young men" or "teaching life lessons" that "reverberate off the field long after one's playing days are over."

But put college football coaches around a five-star prospect a week before signing day and suddenly they start acting with all the integrity of San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom interviewing a buddy's wife for a position on his staff.

In an LA TIMES article yesterday, USC coach Pete Carroll admitted that, leading up to signing day, they continue to pursue top prospects, locally and nationally, regardless of whether they had verbally committed to other schools.

And this isn't an indictment of Carroll rather an example of what goes on across the nation. According to Allan Wallace, national recruiting editor of Scout.com, "A lot of schools don't pay any attention whatsoever if a kid commits because that's when the recruiting really begins."

How sad. But, in our current "win at all costs" society, hardly surprising.

And the players aren't just innocent bystanders. Sure, they're still "high school kids," but that's no excuse for one's word meaning so little these days. It's almost a two step process now - verbally commit to somebody early, then sign with another school later. "I've never seen so many kids de-commit as we did this year," said recruiting guru Tom Lemming.

And it's not just the coaches and players that get caught up in the madness. Check out the three YouTube clips on TrojanWire (HT: CA) of top Michigan high school prospect Ronald Johnson's grandmother invoking God in discussing her grandson's college choice during a church service. It's such a head shaker, you'd almost swear it's an outtake from some HBO show.

Nope. It's just another day in As the Recruit Turns.

And people think the bowl system is messed up? Ha!


2 TE's and a balanced line said...

In Donovan Warren's interview with Rivals after he signed with UM he talked about how some coaches(Pete Carroll) told him how cold it was there, among other things. He also said UM didn't do any of that.
At least it's over now.

tiggerjohn said...

I've been out of the state for several years. I don't follow the recruiting at UM as closely as my other love; so, has Michigan ever had this problem?:

The day before signing day, a Clemson panel that approves recruits told Bowden that he would not be permitted to offer 5* WR Dwight Jones a scholarship. The board reviews academic records of athletes and determines their likelihood of completing a degree at Clemson.

Jones was ready to sign a LOI immediately, but upon hearing the news, decided to take his athletic scholarship offer from UNC. That's right, he's a Tar Heel now.

Not to dis my alma mater, but I'm pretty sure that UNC ranks higher when it comes to academic standards. Heck, so does Michigan... and I still can't imagine this happening to Lloyd.

Either the panel is wrong, and this guy is going to be the next Calvin Johnson; or they're right, and he's going to be the next Maurice Clarett. Whatever the outcome, I find myself outraged that an institution would allow itself to backstep 60 years to a time when athletes were students first, and played sports on the side. Sure, it's chock full of integrity, but in today's NCAA the only thing that really matters is "W"s.

We need our own Senora Rose Mary Ross.

Out of Conference said...

Tiggerjohn - I'm baffled about the Jones decision myself. Was he at a traditional high school, or a 'prep school'? Strange things afoot in TigerTown the last few days. I'm glad to see Jones go to UNC, but think the Tiger fans got screwed.
I'm real curious to see if our big class (SoCar) is all eligible come fall.

Wild Willie said...

The past few years sure have been interesting in this regard. I am a Texas Ex, and I really have to watch myself. There is a part of me that wants to point fingers and laugh at Ryan Periloux now. Then I realize I am a grown up, and high school kids do grow up and mature.

The interesting point though is that Mack Brown is actually wanting to change the rules for signing day and have two or three of them.

Chris of Dangerous Logic said...

...Newsom interviewing a buddy's wife for a position on his staff.

That? Was. Priceless.

Anonymous said...

UM got Donovan Warren after USC's recruiting coordinator left to coach the Raiders and no coach called DW for a week. Even though he had been a silent verbal for 2 years he listened to R English run PC and staff down and was offered a guaranteed start as a freshman...

RoJo preferred the reality of competition for a position at a school playing better ball...sorry that's the way it works out sometimes...both kids got what they wanted and or deserved...