It was the best of recruiting articles; it was the worst of recruiting articles.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution goes a little split-personality on us with a couple of recruiting articles.

For a little perspective the AJC‘s recruiting blog editor Jeff D’Alessio posts the Super Southern 100 from 2002. As he notes, there are some hits and there are some misses. It’s a good reminder that recruiting is anything but an exact science.

On the other hand, there’s this rather breathless recruiting piece in the AJC, where we learn that the recruiting process is bad. Very, very bad. In fact, we are warned by noted sports sociologist Harry Edwards (who’s also described as a consultant to the University of Florida football team – no doubt on text messaging) that because

… of their inner-city backgrounds, he said, some of these recruits are also gun-toting gang members. Edwards said it is only a matter of time before one of these spoiled recruits “goes off” in the athletic department because he is not treated the same after joining the team.

And it’s us denizens of the Internet who will be largely to blame when some kid goes postal:

There’s no doubt that high school players read the recruiting Web sites religiously, said Andrew Crummey, a junior offensive lineman for the University of Maryland football team.

“People can say some very hurtful things on message boards,” he said. In e-mails from adult fans, “17-year-old kids are getting bashed,” he said. “And players take it to heart.”

Assessing the potential of high school players is “still an inexact science” even for experienced college coaches, said John Bunting, former head coach of the University of North Carolina. But young athletes are being sized up by subscribers who have only viewed an online film clip.

“And on the Internet, anyone can say anything about anybody and not be held accountable,” Bunting said.

Like ex-college head coaches, for example. Sounds like you can do that at meaningless hearings, too.

More on that bad ‘ole Internet:

… Web sites such as and have become gospel for millions of fans who follow recruiting nearly as fervently as they follow the actual college football season, witnesses told the commission.

They said this has helped create a generation of players and parents who covet the sites’ five-star and four-star ratings. High school coaches are pressured by parents to turn out these highly ranked players, and college coaches are pressured by boosters to sign them…

I ask you, what hath Al Gore wrought? Of course, don’t let the irony escape you that the AJC publishes all kinds of recruiting rankings itself (to be fair, that’s conceded in the article).

It’s good to see that a keen sense of personal responsibility continues to be a significant part of the American psyche these days, ain’t it?


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