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January Decisions Require Thought

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This past week I was talking with one of my high coaching friends and the subject of last minute official visits and, the – sometimes – last minute “flips.” We also talked about the college practice of late offers, or as I call them – late January offers.

But first, just to remind you, I believe that football recruits sometimes get messed over by the coach who is recruiting him, sometimes by the head football coach, sometimes by his high school coach, sometimes by his handler, sometimes by the media, and sometimes by his over eager parent.

Wednesday, February 1 is just eleven days away. National Signing Day. Big money for the big time marketing guys. Big time for all of the “jock sniffers” (media self appointed recruiting reporters) out there. Big time for mom and dad. Big time for the local high schools. A proud moment for some.

A parent friend of mine started telling me how frustrated one of his friends was over the treatment that his friend’s son is receiving at a Power Five school. No playing time.

Right away, I reminded him that this recruit “flipped” at the last minute. He was committed to another big school, a school whose program was a 50/50 program. Flipped late. I told the parent – “kid’s fault. Should have never flipped.” He was given some bad advice.

Another situation. Just heard the new football coach at UConn told a committed recruit that he was not going to be offered a scholarship. Told him that this past week. On New Year’s Day, the recruit was told that his scholarship was good – by the head coach. That does not sound like Randy Edsall.

Luke Fickell. a former assistant at O-State and, now, the head coach at UC (or Cincinnati),  called the players who had offers and told them of their status. I know for a fact the he called a member of the 2018 Class to tell him that his offer was good.

The decision to which school  a high school recruit makes to play football and further his education is based on being comfortable with a new staff. If the new staff is not comfortable with a recruit, the recruit should feel it. Parents should as well. Okay to de-commit.

The other reason that I support “de-committing” is because the deadline rule. Schools will give a recruit a deadline. I realize that colleges really have a lot invested into the whole recruiting process. But when a recruit is  given a deadline to make a decision and is just not comfortable making a decision, he may have to move on. When a recruit has some doubts, probably not good.

What if a Power 5 school contacts a recruit in the last two weeks before signing date? The recruit had very little contact with this big school program. Had not heard from them since December. Now, that Power 5 wants you to come for an official visit. Boston College stopped the school to talk with the head coach.

An offer so late in the recruiting process (Wednesday, Feb 1) can really only mean one thing. Not always,  but most of the time — Desperation has set in.

In some states, the major university, or state school is the dream school for many football recruits. Not always, but often. Being from Ohio, I will use Ohio State. What happens if O-State comes calling late? What is happening, if they bring you in for a visit in January, or even late January. They have been keeping you “warm,” but not “hot.”

Go to Ohio State. Drop everything. Your life long dream is play for the Buckeyes. You have been to their camp. Your parents love them. Life long fans. Travel is not bad and you can stay close to home. You cannot turn down this opportunity, because it is a once in a lifetime. You will be the one of the most popular kids in school and in your small town.

Don’t go to Ohio State. You have been to their camps. You went to Friday night lights. You have been to some games. Why didn’t they offer you back in the summer. Or offer you during the fall. They came to see you play. It was your dream. Maybe they lost a national recruit and they know that getting an Ohio recruit to come to O-State is easy. Now you are considered 2nd or 3rd level. Has desperation set in?

Go/Stay with a new staff. A recruit is committed to Western Michigan. A good chance to play. The new staff is set at Minnesota with  former Western Michigan coach, P J Fleck. Two DE’s who have been committed to WMU, de-commit and go to Minnesota. This happens as well – Players who have been committed to MAC schools are convinced to de-commit and play for a new staff.

I know that a recruit goes to a program to play for the school. Represent the school. Get a degree from a school. This is why a recruit goes to college – to get an education. I still recruits to — choose the university that you are comfortable with. For example, if you had a career ending injury the first month of your freshman year, could you stay and graduate from that choice.

Honestly, over the years I have changed my thinking about committing to a certain school. A recruit should choose a football scholarship based on a football coaching staff and the support staff, as well. Building relationships is so important. Relationships with coaches, as well as teammates. Being treated with respect is huge.

Before a recruit makes a switch or flips or makes a last minute choice, he cannot get caught up in the frosting. The cake is so much bigger and will help him grow. So much more substance in the cake.

In closing, I wish I could tell you that the football recruiting process is fun, fun, and fun. But it is one of the most dishonest parts of the college football business. Starts out fun and being good enough as a football player to get recognized is rewarding.

Late January action regarding making a commitment to a university is sometimes dangerous. Really, really sit back a try to see the whole picture. Tough decision. Most of all, put emotions aside and think comfortability (new word) and relationships.

Thank goodness – it only takes one to like you and offer you a scholarship.

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