Putting everything surrounding recruiting into perspective
by Marty Mule’
Tiger Rag Featured Columnist
Now that the libidinous phase of the year – recruiting season – is concluded, with every college coach in America happy about something or someone, put it all (meaning all the efforts, money, charm exuded) into perspective: two or three years from today you won’t recognize half the names that flooded the airways, the Internet, newspaper print this week.
For every sure-shot like a Tim Tebow at Florida there are likely to be several others like Chris Pettaway at LSU (or Rick Clausen, Amp Hill, Cisco Perkins, or anyone of a litany of vaguely familiar or forgotten names).
Pettaway, lest we forget, was a Prep All-American from Miami who 20 years ago was projected to be the next great Tiger offensive lineman.
In four years at LSU, though, he not only seldom saw the field, he never lettered.
Nobody but the recruiting services anxious for your subscriptions ever said evaluating teen-age athletes is an exact science.
There are lots of reasons for missing on a prospect, maybe more than hitting on one:
A) the kid may simply be overrated;
B) he may have peaked physically in high school;
C) his interest in the sport may have waned and he doesn’t really want another four years of the regimen;
D) there’s also the possibility he may not take to a coach, or to his coaching style, which retards his development;
E) and then there’s the Birds and the Bees consideration, which may be the most important factor. A young man with plenty of free time for the first time in his life and with lots of good-looking and available females everywhere he turns can’t be dismissed.
That one factor, I’ll bet, has altered the outlook of youngsters tens of thousands of times.
Here’s a way to put things in context. In the last five years only four schools have finished in the top 10 of recruiting each year: Texas, Southern Cal, Florida and Notre Dame. In that same span, who is the only school to go undefeated?
The answer is . . . Utah. Twice. And the highest-rated player the Utes got in those classes was 52nd.
So don’t start counting your national championships just yet.
By the way, is this college recruiting or kindergarten? The scenario played out Wednesday with Reuben Randle’s family and DeAngelo Benton was nothing short of childish – and selfish.
And Les Miles may ultimately regret his decision to yank the scholarship offer to Benton.
Randle’s father apparently pressured LSU to withdraw the grant-in-aid to Reuben’s old teammate who sat out the last two years trying to become academically eligible.
The fact the prospects both play the same position wouldn’t factor into what came across as an ultimatum in a radio interview Tuesday night, would it. “It wasn’t anything against Benton,” Emmitt Randle said. “It was for Benton. He’s been out of football two years. It didn’t matter if he beat Reuben out. Both of them wanted to play. One was going to be left out.”
Reuben said Wednesday though, “If he (Benton) was going to go there, I was going to find somewhere else to go because I didn’t want to take heat on him, put pressure on him where he had to battle with me for a position. He needed to go somewhere where he could play, better his opportunity.’’
What it sounds like is the Randle’s don’t want a quality player at the same position and in the same class as Rueben.
And what’s worse the Randle’s – with their Little League mentality of pushing their wishes on coaches – got their way.
In the years to come, Miles may have opened the gate for major problems for caving in.
Don’t get up-in-arms about players changing their commitments at the last minute. The dust-up been Florida’s Urban Myer and Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin was kind of fun to see.
Ku’keese Richardson and Marsalis Teague changed from the Gators to the Vols, causing Kiffin to gloat publicly.
Kiffin did a good job poaching on the work of others, also snatching away Janzen Jackson from LSU.
But I don’t recall Tiger fans getting their collective nose out of joint the last time a high-profile athlete switched his allegiance. That was three years ago when Miles cajoled Ryan Perrilloux out of his commitment to Texas. Of course, that change of heart didn’t turn out too well for LSU.
One other thing about children’s games and recruiting. Alabama coach Nick Saban told Destehan’s Darrington Sentimore, when he learned the lineman was wavering on his commitment, that a man only has his word, that it has to mean something.
So the question is, what did Saban tell receiver Kenny Bell when he talked him out of his commitment to LSU and into signing with Bama?
Marty Mule’ can be reached at MJM981two@Charter.net