|Commentary: Name Redacted way off in his observations||Tweet|
|by David Hood -- Senior Writer - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 4:11 PM||
College football recruiting is a lucrative and profitable business for those media entities who charge their patrons for the privilege of hanging on a 15-year old’s every word.
And, as happens all too often in today’s world, people get so caught up in the recruiting hype and what these young men think that they lose sight of one important fact – these are kids who have yet to really make any harsh life decisions or even have the privilege of walking across the stage to accept a high school diploma.
In other words, they are still kids.
Kids who possess freakish athletic ability. Kids who already have the body of a full-grown man. But - kids nonetheless.
TigerNet runs recruiting stories, and I enjoy talking to many of these young men before they become Tigers and in some cases getting to know their families. However, I don’t write recruiting for my health. I write it because recruiting stories get more hits than any other kind of article on our site – an article about a 16-year old in Florida will get five times the number of hits over a Clemson baseball story. An article about a 17-year old in Georgia who “narrows” his list to 20 will get 10 times the number of hits than a Clemson basketball story.
It’s the world we live in.
But when people at these same media entities start blasting a young man – the same young man they have made money off of – it makes me angry. So allow me to vent for just a moment if you please.
Clemson commitment Robert Nkemdiche – who just happens to be the number one recruit in the nation – did an interview with the AJC last week. In the interview, he was quoted as saying that his commitment to Clemson would become more solid if the Tigers were to offer another of his Grayson teammates.
Those comments immediately went viral, and all of a sudden a 17-year old kid became the scourge of the land. I am not saying that his comments were right or they were wrong. It was what he was feeling at the moment, and he has since had time to think about it and retracted his comments. He also learned a valuable lesson – be careful what you say when you are in the public’s eye. That lesson will serve him well as his career continues and he continues to swim in the shark-infested waters of not only recruiting, but college football and – maybe if he’s lucky and works hard and continues to improve – the NFL.
All weekend long, my phone blew up with text messages and my email inbox overflowed with fans concerned about the comments, and many wondered just how “serious” were the implications of those comments.
My answer – perhaps too lighthearted for some – was “not very.” Why? Because he is still a kid. Kids touch hot stoves, and they get burned and they learn. They fall off of things they shouldn’t be climbing on, and they learn. They make comments to reporters that they shouldn’t – and they learn.
I’ve met Robert. I’ve spoken with him. I have talked to his coaches. I know he is a good kid, and I know that what he has to go through with the recruiting process is almost overwhelming. If you go back and look at the video interview TigerNet did with him after one of his spring practices, he talks about just wanting to go to the mall, hang out with friends, be with his girlfriend and play video games.
He just wants to be a kid.
And knowing that another young man – Ryan Carter, the teammate in question – was getting the residual blast from those comments, I called Carter and he very eloquently stated that not only did he not know that his teammate was going to say those things, he didn’t want a scholarship in that manner.
But that is taken away from him by virtue of who he is, what he will one day represent, and the fact that millions of people across the country put a lot of their own self-worth into not only what their favorite college team accomplishes, but the recruits that team manages to snare.
It just makes me glad that someone didn’t call me and ask my opinion on things when I was 17. It makes me glad that someone didn’t follow me around with a recorder – there is no telling what I would have said. I was a piece of work. But I was 17……
However, what makes me even angrier than anything else is when another reporter – name redacted because I can’t even bear to write his name – decides that he not only has to publicly blast a 17-year old (yes, it takes a real man to do that) but he has to blast Clemson University and the coaching staff as well.
Name Redacted’s story was so erroneous and misinformed it could almost be called comical if it wasn’t for the fact that people actually read and believe things that are written.
Name Redacted said Clemson could be on the threshold of an “unprecedented five-for-one package deal.”
For those of you that don’t know, running back Wayne Gallman is a 4-star prospect that could also play linebacker if asked. The day I was at Grayson, the running backs coach from Wisconsin was in attendance, and a brief conversation with him told me that the Badgers wanted Gallman. And, in case you didn’t know, that’s a school that knows just a little bit about great running backs. Gallman is a big-time prospect in his own right, but doesn’t get the credit he deserves because of people like Name Redacted.
Next up is David Kamara, who I watched during spring practice (yes, I actually try to see someone play before I give an opinion on how good they are, an obviously outdated concept). Kamara is a 3-star prospect in his own right, and one that I think can make an impact at the collegiate level. And, while we are on the subject of ratings, since when is a 3-star prospect just a “throw-in” on a package deal. Heck, the University of South Carolina has fashioned the 16th-ranked recruiting class in the nation according to ESPN, and they have seven 3-star prospects. Are they throw-ins for somebody? No, they can actually play the game.
These are both kids that if, in some “bizarro world” Nkemdiche didn’t exist, would both have gotten offers from Clemson. That is due not only to their proximity to the Clemson campus and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney’s relationship with Grayson head coach Mickey Conn but – and get this – the fact that they can play. The day I was on the Grayson campus, two other ACC schools were there watching Kamara, hoping beyond hope that they had a shot at landing him.
And then, Name Redacted throws in the fact that former Grayson quarterback Nick Schuessler is also part of the package deal.
Long before Nkemdiche gave a verbal to Clemson, Tiger coaches offered Schuessler as a walk-on with the chance to come in and earn a scholarship. He was actually good enough to earn a scholarship to Miss. St., which plays in the mighty SEC, so he probably has the ability to help someone.
Once Schuessler saw where his buddies were headed, he decided he wanted to be at Clemson as well and asked for his release from Mississippi St. And of course the Clemson coaches, seeing that they had a chance to land another of Nkemdiche’s teammates, offered him a scholarship on the spot and the chance to play right away, correct?
He got the same deal – GASP – that was offered to him long before Nkemdiche gave his verbal to Clemson. THE SAME DEAL. Yes, Name Redacted, he not only has to pay his own way to Clemson, but he also has to sit out a year before being eligible to play. And he may also never earn a scholarship. Yes, Name Redacted, that is sleazy stuff right there.
Name Redacted also said that this was one of the ugliest scandals to hit college football in a long time. Of course, a young man trying to help out less fortunate teammates is indeed ugly, right? Right up there with coaches raping young boys in locker rooms, academic scandals and monetary gifts and enticements that other schools are on probation for. Nice line. The ugliness is a grown man taking potshots at kids.
I guess I said all of that to say this – recruiting is very important and is the lifeblood of every college football program. It is the foundation. But that foundation is laid on the thoughts and abilities of kids, kids we all hope can become solid men and contributors with nurturing and coaching and maturity. Isn’t that what college is supposed to be about, anyway? Let’s give them that chance before we crucify them.
|David Hood can be reached at email@example.com||
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