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No one loves recruiting more than me. I love the psychology of it. I love the evaluation process. I love almost everything involved in recruiting that is above board. That is until now.
The recruiting process has been moved up about six months. Several years ago, an offer was considered an early one if it came before your senior season started. Back in the good ole days, many schools had three or four commitments before December. You wanted to have the last weekend of January as your big weekend. Now that has changed.
Prospects want the insurance policy. They want to get the early offer, then commit, but still take other visits. I don’t like it, but that is not my gripe today. To me the real problem now is the calendar being moved up in the offer process.
Lets examine some scenarios often seen in the process now:
1. “I like this school because they were the first to offer.” This is
the wrong way to think. Did you pick your girlfriend based upon this criterion? Times may have changed, but it sounds to me like the old singles’
bar strategy of “Go ugly early.” We are talking about a decision of a lifetime. The late Al McGuire, Hall of Fame basketball coach, said this is the second biggest decision of your life. He said who you would marry was the biggest choice. Lou Holtz said you would always be remembered as a Tiger, Gamecock, Seminole, Tar Heel, etc. Holtz said because of that it is a 60-year decision, not a four-year decision. Therefore, to base your decision on who offered you first is a skewed one.
2. “I am not considering this school because they offered me late.” I
swear a couple of prospects have told me and other services this. Since when did March of your junior year become offering late?
3. “I went to their practice and the coaches let me sit in on their
meetings. When they huddled on defense, they let me get in the huddle to hear the calls.” Is anything sacred anymore? Upperclassmen should be offended by this courting. The senior that has red-shirted and been on the scout team, never missed a workout, went to off-season conditioning, and worked his butt off his entire career to be a member of this team, and here is a kid in his junior year of high being invited in my huddle. Juniors in high school are being invited to team and position meetings and they are shown plays and strategy. I have a problem with players being able to put on a jersey and touch the rock and run down the hill before they sign. To me the rock and hill should be reserved for Tigers, not prospective Tigers.
However, I understand you have to do those types of things. I do not understand why you have to let them in team meetings.
4. “I like this school because they show me a lot of love. They send
me text messages all day.” The recruiting process has become screwed up and technology is ahead of the rules. College coaches can’t call prospects right now, but they can send them text messages. They can send them text messages that ask the prospect to call them back. Grown men in their fifties and sixties are being forced to text message juniors in high school because everyone else is. I am telling you this is getting out of hand.
When Tommy West was the head coach at Clemson he told me that recruiting had three seasons. He said the first is when you evaluate the prospects athletically,academically and you evaluate their character. You did this throughout his junior year and up through the Shrine Bowl week. Second the player evaluates the schools. He did this through unofficial visits, camps, official visits, etc. This took place from their junior year though mid-January. Then the third phase kicked in. The third phase is when he said recruiting kicked in.
West said recruiting and the psychology of it did not really start until those last two weeks. Unfortunately today it starts 11 months before signing day. I miss the days of John Johnson pulling the UGA switch to Clemson. I love how C.J Spiller handled it. I personally don’t see anything wrong with waiting until January to take your official visits and not committing to a school until you are perfectly sure. I know I am getting old when I state that I miss the good ole days.
Later this week, I will write about my proposal to end this calendar mess.
The Numbers for the Class of 2007
I am often asked about specific numbers for each signing class. As it stands now I believe Clemson will sign 21-25 in the Class of 2007. They don’t have that many scholarships now, but will by next August. Things could change between now and February, but here is a break down of the Class of 2007 by numbers as it stands today:
Is it Safe to head Back to Raleigh?
NC State officials are cracking down on tailgating at Wolfpack football games. School officials were concerned before violence and shooting erupted a couple of years ago, but have now decided to make changes. As a visiting fan, I will say it is rough walking through the dusty parking lots of the fairgrounds in Raleigh. It used to be that the worst part was blowing your nose after the game and getting rid of the black residue from your nostrils.
Now you have to dodge insults, four-letter words, and an occasional bullet.
At least last year you did not have to hear about it after the game when Clemson fans about out numbered the Pack fans that hung around for the end.
Thanks for a Great First Week
The blog has exceeded my expectations in its first week. You guys have been awesome by visiting it so often. I can tell you that new artwork is on the way and we will have a neat looking site in the next week or two. It should be pretty easy to navigate to and throughout the blog. Thanks again for saving it among your favorites. Also thanks to George Coleman Ford and Mr.
Knickerbockers for their support. Please visit these great sponsors. We have some interesting things coming up on the blog, so if you keep visiting, I promise it will get better. Lastly, our motto remains, “Since the blog is free, at least you get your money’s worth.”