As we approach National Signing Day, we are starting to hear more about recruiting on he Atlanta sports radio airwaves with recruiting experts appearing to discuss the top remaining uncommitted prospects, as well as recruits declaring on ESPNU, CSS, FOX Sports, etc. Seemingly each day, folks are opening their Score High School Sports Newsletter to read about the latest recruit to flip his commitment or declare he was re-opening his process after a coaching change.
PLAYERS MATTER …
People usually fall into one of two camps: they either love the drama these 18-year-olds create or they turn their heads and vomit that so much attention is paid to the spotlight-seeking football players. Honestly, I cannot blame either party.
The media outlets that cover recruiting created this rockstar mentality for the players because a portion of the population truly cares about recruiting and with good reason. As much as some radio personalities roll their eyes with disdain over the entire process, Alabama’s recent BCS national championship should enforce that recruiting DOES MATTER. Nick Saban has created a recruiting juggernaut in Tuscaloosa that isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon. If 790 The Zone’s Mike Bell wants to mock recruiting as meaningless, that is fine, but he sounds foolish to any smart college football fan. The intelligent college football fan understands that recruiting is the lifeblood of the sport and without the proper players, you do not stand a chance. Alabama was bigger, stronger, faster and simply better than Notre Dame, and it wasn’t just because Saban was on the sidelines. While he is a tremendous coach, Brian Kelly is as well. Saban had his better players focused and on a razor’s edge to play and win the title. The players matter and recruiting matters.
For anyone that is a pro football fan who wants to rip recruiting as meaningless, I ask this: do you fill out mock drafts? Do you watch the NFL combine workouts? Do you follow what Mel Kiper Jr and Todd McShay have to say about the top 18 receivers available leading up to the NFL Draft? To me, it is the same thing. You are trying to project potential at the next level, which is all recruiting folks are doing. They are trying to project how a certain successful high school player will do at the college level in the right system.
RECRUITING GAMES …
While I am clearly in the “recruiting matters” camp, I must say that I too grow tired of the games these recruits play every year. For some recruits, even the fan bases that end up with the player begin to expect the moon after three or four commitment, de-commitments and/or re-commitments. After all that Isaiah Crowell put the recruiting world through before finally pulling a puppy out on ESPNU, Georgia fans were expecting the next Herschel Walker. How did that work out?
People are starting to grow tired of Robert Nkemdiche’s drama where his mother wasn’t going to influence his decision, as long as it wasn’t Clemson and was Ole Miss. Peach County’s Demarcus Robinson had also better rewrite the Florida record books after pledging to Clemson, then pledging to Florida then back to Clemson before -finally?- settling on Florida. Even the most strident recruiting defender gets tired of the games. I understand that this is your future we are discussing, but playing games just so reporters will keep calling you and your name keeps popping up on 247sports. com or ESPNU every so often is ridiculous.
I also understand if a coach that recruited you left and you want to look around again, but you can do it in a way that Lassiter’s Ryan Jenkins, Milton’s Carl Lawson and Chamblee’s Davin Bellamy have all approached the issue. Kudos to those young men for handling the situation like adults.