Category Archives: Recruiting

“Recruiting moral high ground” is an oxymoron.

I don’t follow Wisconsin recruiting, of course, so it’s interesting to see what utter nonsense the program’s decision to revoke its offer to Ben Bryant is, based on its recent track record.

Yes, the contact, offer and tweet could have been contributing factors, but if those were the reasons, the Badgers are hypocrites. A player being committed to another school hasn’t stopped Wisconsin from going after them, most recently offering defensive tackle Apu Ika (Salt Lake City), who has been committed to BYU since last summer. And the tweet thing? Doesn’t hold water, either. Safety Reggie Pearson (River Rouge, Mich.) committed to the Badgers in August 2016, and a week later tweeted an offer he received from Arkansas. He remains a member of Wisconsin’s Class of 2018.

The author goes on to surmise that the real impetus behind the revocation was that Bryant no longer fit into Wisconsin’s plans, a conclusion that doesn’t require a huge leap in logic to make, and then adds this observation:

No matter what, this is an unfortunate black eye for Wisconsin. Pulling a scholarship is a rarity for the Badgers. The program, especially under former coach Bret Bielema and current coach Paul Chryst, has carried itself as being somehow morally superior when it comes to recruiting. Bielema once famously called out Ohio State coach Urban Meyer for “illegal” recruiting tactics, and saying, “We at the Big Ten don’t want to be like the SEC in any way, shape or form.” Bielema was in the SEC less than a year later, but his point stands. Wisconsin has recruited the right way.

This latest move, though, suggests the Badgers may not be holding that moral high ground any longer.

A message that will no doubt be reinforced on the recruiting trail.

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10 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, Recruiting

Mighty touchy, ain’t we?

The latest recruiting fooferaw involves a quarterback from Illinois neither you nor I likely would have ever heard of, except for (1) he received an offer from UGA and (2) that offer set in motion a bizarre chain of events… well, maybe more curious than bizarre.

The story begins with the offer, and the kid’s polite acknowledgement.

From there, the going gets weird.  Wisconsin, which held his commitment, didn’t take kindly to the news.

There’s a giant “wait, wut?” trying to emerge here.  Surely Wisconsin wouldn’t yank an accepted offer merely because another school offered, would it?

Oh, yes, it would.  And don’t call it Shirley.

Understand, this was unsolicited.  There was no visit planned.  No talk about keeping options open, let alone jumping ship.  It wasn’t even his second offer.

This is the Johnson Doctrine on steroids.  Or it’s the move of a program that grabbed the first shabby excuse it could get its hands on to jettison a recruit in favor of a better option.  (“Honestly, communication with UW and my feeling of being a part of ‘the family’ has been subpart at times and during several visits,” is a pretty good hint Wisconsin lost its loving feeling.)  Either way, you’d have to expect this little story is about to become weaponized on the recruiting trail.  With good reason.

By the way, young man, you’ve done nothing to beat yourself up over.  Better luck with your next college choice.

25 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, Georgia Football, Recruiting

Today, in methinks they doth protest too much

Roll ‘Bama Roll picks up on a Rivals piece that coachsplains why the early signing date is anti-doing it for the kids.

“I only think it’s going to really benefit the kids that are 100 percent locked in any way,” an assistant coach from a Top10 program told 247Sports. “I don’t think the other kids are going to sign.”

Which means the early signing date puts pressure on kids.

Gosh, that would be a shame, as the current process is clearly pressure-free.  Maybe they should move national signing day back to the day before spring practice starts.

The funny thing is that all the complaining we’re hearing about the December period is coming from the coaching side, none from recruits.  Why would that be, daddy?

If the argument is really about the benefit of students, then it’s nonsensical: little has been changed except a chance for kids to wrap up the recruiting circus earlier. There is no requirement that they sign in December; couching the early period as an artificial deadline imposed upon students is a red herring. If anything, an early signing period should signal whether or not the roster is even favorable at Dream School Y, should a pipe dream offer be available. And, that dream offer is more often than not going to be available in six weeks if the player has earned it and can compete for it.

Having a better idea about the likelihood of a pipe dream becoming reality in a more favorable time frame sounds awful.  For coaches, I mean.

Unspoken here for opponents of the December period is that an early signing day shifts the burden of risk onto coaching staffs, instead of upon students. It requires an earlier identification of talent, an accelerated judgment as to whether a player can compete at a certain school, whether that student posses the character, whether the student is an academic risks, and then requires cultivating a relationship strong enough to close the deal earlier: No one wants to pass on a player who then goes to a rival or midmajor and then shines. A notoriously risk-averse profession, and the loss of poaching opportunities, is really what the sparse opposition has been about — don’t lose sight of that.

I’d say that’s a damned shame, except all that’s going to happen is coaches like Saban and Meyer will just hire a few more analysts for their personnel departments.  Earlier identification problem solved!

5 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

About the new NCAA recruiting rules

Two interesting tidbits from this Al.com piece

One, there’s already an SEC program that’s run afoul of the new rule about hiring high school coaches as analysts, and, no, it’s not Nick Saban’s.  But it’s close.

In Alabama alone, Auburn can’t recruit local Opelika High School for the next two years because the school hired Brian Blackmon in February as an analyst.

It’ll be interesting to see if there are any major recruits coming out of there in the next two seasons and where they go.

Then there’s the new early signing rule, which is portrayed as the product of a political collaboration meant to find the sweet spot among all sorts of competing interests.  Guess who was among the collaborators.

Still, the approval this week was a long time coming for the MAC commissioner who in some ways was the face of early signing period legislation. For nearly four years he’s been involved in some capacity on the hot button issue. He worked with former Auburn coach Gene Chizik and Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity, among many others, as part of a working group trying to put together an early signing period solution palatable enough to a diverse group with many different wants and needs.

“This was in many ways one of the most collaborative pieces of legislation I’ve ever been a part of,” he told AL.com. “I thought there was a lot of good discussion. A lot of good work done to listen, to absorb and then try to craft a package that hopefully advances the needs of our student-athletes, is respectful of the coaches time and is ultimately in the best interest of college football.”  [Emphasis added.]

Man, taking time off from the reserve fund, this must have been a serious interest for McGarity. I mean, there’s no monetary angle, right?  Right?

17 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Recruiting

Reason #42836 why I don’t closely follow recruiting stories

The only thing that interests me less than hearing what’s on the mind of a seventeen-year old being chased by big-time football programs is hearing what’s on the mind of an eighteen-year old explaining why he spurned the big-time programs chasing him.

Enjoy your relevancy, kid.

23 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

“Students need to go into this with their eyes open.”

You gotta love the advice Mid-American Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher gives recruits faced with the risk of signing early and having the coach they expect to play for depart before they ever make it to campus.

“Certainly there are some changes after that, and we certainly know that assistant coaches can change at virtually any time. Students have to contemplate all of that and take that into consideration when they make a determination on whether they want to sign early or not.”

Hell, schools have lawyers out the wazoo, not to mention contract buyout clauses, and they can’t keep a handle on coaches jumping ship on a moment’s notice, but a seventeen-year old without a legal advisor, who gets told who knows what on the recruiting trail — don’t forget the always comforting “you sign with a school, not a coach” wisdom that’s particularly meaningful to a kid who faces a complete regime change when an athletic director replaces a Chan Gailey-type with a Paul Johnson-type — is supposed to have all this under control?

Sure.  After all, Steinbrecher is quick to point out it works for basketball.

“The (NLI) is administered by the (CCA) and I know that’s an issue that continues to be studied and discussed, but I’d also note we have early signing periods in other sports with the same sort of requirements that we have in football,” Steinbrecher said.

One little difference, though.

The one fundamental difference between basketball and football is that the average football recruiting class is significantly bigger than basketball. Managing 20-25 players looking for a release after a football coaching change would be considerably more challenging than two or three basketball recruits.

Yeah, we can’t inconvenience the schools.  After all, that’s what the recruits commit to, right?

41 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

“In other words, an early signing period has been approved.”

If this marks doom for college football, as Saban and Meyer have argued, why do I have the sneaky suspicion that those two are already prepared for the changes and won’t miss a beat?

22 Comments

Filed under Recruiting