Having covered the world of recruiting for decades, here is lesson No. 1.
Commit to the school, not the coach.
With the coaching carousel spinning like a top, high school prospects are shocked that the coaches they committed to are off to greener pastures.
Really? Don’t be.
This is a business boys, and you have to ALWAYS keep your options open. You have to have a Plan B… a worst-case scenario.
When 99-percent of the high school and college students who are looking for a job, they commit to a company… not a manager. College football recruiting is NO DIFFERENT.
Look, on the real, the power-struggle has flipped to the players over the past few years. The recruiting game has also completely morphed. You wanted it, you got it.
The portal makes roster management virtually impossible for college coaches to know who is coming or going. It’s free-agency every year.
Kids can use it to their benefit or their detriment.
Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), which I don’t agree with, is also a joke. Teens can make big money, which they have no idea how to manage, completely changing the power dynamic in the locker room and the relationship with their coaches. Short-sighted deals are made to allure recruits to the super-powers of college football.
It’s the same deal with college coaches… you can’t fault them for negotiating their own deals.
The creation of super-conferences is alluring to some coaches, but terrifying to others. It’s a game of musical chairs and everyone is scrambling for their spot before the music stops. If you could coach for 4-5 years in the rough-and-tumble SEC where expectations are insane, or coach 10-15 years in the Pac-12, where expectations are like “dude, football is gnarly, bruh”, which would you pick?
Throw in an international pandemic into the mix and this whole recruiting process is a mess.
Existing players getting an extra year of eligibility. No expansion of scholarships from 85 per school and hundreds of student-athletes looking for their next stop are finding themselves back at their homes. The one-time hometown heroes, who had hundreds of adoring fans watching them select a hat during Signing Day, are now collecting a paycheck a Chick-fil-A.
With the exodus of Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley to USC, Billy Napier from UL-L to Florida, Joey McGuire from Baylor to Texas Tech, kids feel like they are left in the dark. Sort of, but did you commit to the school or the coach?
LSU, OU, TCU and Virginia Tech among others are coach-less with December 15th looming – the early signing day.
It’s chaos, but such is life.
Stop whining fellas, there is a formula to football and life in general.
LISTEN to experienced people who have NO incentive in your decisions. Hmmmm… maybe your high school head coach or position coach who has seen you develop the past four years.
Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.
Work hard and make good decisions.
And finally, understand -- THIS IS A BUSINESS. Everyone is out for themselves. Never forget that.
So, choose a school that feels like home, play ball, create your own network, be patient and things will work out. Here's a novel concept, get your degree so you can be your own boss one day.
And leave your feelings at home.