For some reason, this post about what it means to commit by Michael Carvell at the AJ-C’s recruiting blog was relinked yesterday on the paper’s sports page. I had commented on it when it first appeared because I liked what Mark Richt said about how the program presents itself to its recruits, so I didn’t pay much attention about what Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson had to say.
But I couldn’t help but notice this comment by Johnson on the second go around.
… What did Paul Johnson say about what “commitment means?” He touched on it when discussing quarterback Dontae Aycock of Tampa, who had “secretly committed” to Tech in mid-January. However, less than a week away from signing day, Auburn entered the picture with a last-minute scholarship offer.
“I reiterated that to him: ‘Dontae, don’t get on that plane [to Auburn].’ His high school coach told him, ‘Dontae, don’t get on that plane,’” Johnson said. “When he chose to do that, he was telling me, in my mind, he didn’t want to come to Georgia Tech, and so we moved on [rescinding Aycock's scholarship offer from Tech].”
Johnson explained that Tech recruited Aycock for nearly a full year, which included visits by Aycock to Tech for spring practice last year and to a summer camp. During Aycock’s recruiting trip last month, Johnson said he explained “commitment” to the prized prospect.
“We talked about what that meant,” Johnson said. “That commitment means, especially two weeks before signing day, is that we’re through with the recruiting process. … I’m giving you my word you’ve got a scholarship. You’re giving your word you’re coming.”
Wait a minute… Aycock’s was a secret commitment? Correct me if I’m wrong here, but a secret commitment means nobody but the kid (along with the kid’s high school coach in this case) and the school know it exists. Its purpose is to mislead. Other schools don’t know that the recruit has pledged, so perhaps they devote resources to pursuing the kid that could be better spent elsewhere. And, of course, other kids that Tech is recruiting don’t know the true numbers situation at the position that the silent recruitment is ticketed to play, or, for that matter, the total number of slots left that Johnson has to offer for signees.
So all this high falutin’ talk about “giving your word” is wrapped up in a veneer of obfuscation. Hypocritical? Sounds like it to me, so maybe Johnson shouldn’t be quite so huffy when the master plan goes awry. Maybe if it had been public knowledge that Aycock had committed to Tech all along, he’d be making plans to pack for the Flats in a few months.