The scene at Carver High School in Georgia in February 2011 reveals much about what the media saturation and excessive attention--as well as the “Age of Twitter”--has done to high school recruits. Countless grown men, myself included, tuned in to watch where high school seniors would be attending college.
All eyes were on running back Isaiah Crowell who would decide between Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia. Gabe Wright was choosing between Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and Tennessee. Crowell announced his intentions to sign with Georgia by bringing in a bulldog puppy while Wright chose Auburn with a custom hat that read “Nick Who?” to symbolize how Wright would make Auburn fans forget award winning first round draft pick Nick Fairley.
Crowell will be suiting up for lowly Alabama State this season while Wright will continue to battle for a consistent spot in Auburn’s pitiful defensive line rotation.
Arrogance is constantly on display in recruiting circles as kids relish the attention. They use Twitter and interviews to mislead fans. They will often tell multiple schools that they intend to sign with them, and they will intentionally provide conflicting clues regarding their ultimate college destination such as wearing a certain team’s gear at particular times only to follow it up with a signal indicating their love of another program.
It becomes a game, not a decision. And, once a decision is actually made, it is rarely final.
Robert Nkemdiche, the Breitbart25 #2 prospect, “committed” to Clemson back in the fall, but he will sign with either Ole Miss or LSU on Signing Day.
Reuben Foster, the Breitbart25 #4 player committed to Alabama only to flip to Auburn and get an Auburn tattoo only to flip back to Alabama yesterday (it’s still conceivable, although unlikely, that he could flip again).
Breitbart25 #5 prospect Jalen Ramsey has de-committed from USC on the day before National Signing Day, and other Breitbart25 prospects who have de-committed at some point in the process include Derrick Henry, A’Shawn Richardson, Ricky Seals-Jones, Eddie Vanderdoes, and Greg Bryant.
The term “commitment” is loosely thrown around, and, at the end of the day, it rarely means anything.
Recruits like defensive end Tashawn Bower, currently “committed” to Auburn, will “announce” their college decisions tomorrow among several schools. Many consider Bower more likely to sign with a school to which he has not committed.
While we have to take a step back to remember these are kids, and these prospects will be making a major decision, it is tough to see how the word “commitment” has evolved and how the recruiting process has become such a massive production.
I am one of many tomorrow who will closely be following National Signing Day tomorrow; however, I cannot help but lament the scene that it has become.