Let's get some principles out of the way for recruiting:
- It's time people realized that every player LSU/Bama/Georgia/Texas/Oklahoma/etc. recruits has options. We can't go around giving ultimatums to every player we're recruiting. If we go up to a kid and say, "We're offering you a scholarship, but you have to take it now, and you can't go on a visit anywhere else," that's fine. You can do that, but there are going to be a few recruits who listen to our ultimatum and tell us to stuff it. Heck, even our lower rated recruits were offered by Nebraska, TCU, Texas Tech, and teams like that. We can't bully our way to a good recruiting class with every kid. Some kids will respond to that, and some won't.
- You can't get every player. Some people want to win every player out there, and think that their particular school can't possibly be the wrong place for someone to go to. Looking at point #1, wherein we established that kids have options, when a kid has options, it stands to reason sometimes a kid will exercise those options.
- Most kids will not be as good as their hype; and some will be better. This is a fact of life in recruiting. Remember this article, analyzing the top 50 players from the 2005 recruiting class. Thirty-one of them did not live up to their hype. And it went that way across the board. Six of the top 10 were judged to be "busts" for one reason or another. Then there are the players like Rashad Johnson who went from walk-on at Bama to All-American and legitimate NFL prospect. This is not to say that recruiting is a crapshoot and rankings are worthless. The fact is that most 5-stars are productive players if they avoid devastating injuries and disciplinary issues, and 5-stars have a better chance of being drafted highly than do 4-stars, and 4-stars have a better chance of being drafted highly than do 3-stars. But not all will avoid such unpleasantness, and even players who stay healthy and out of trouble don't always turn out to be that great. Recruiting rankings are nice and they're a useful guide, but they're not the end-all, be-all.
We're still waiting on Janzen Jackson, and the drama has gotten out of control. Rumors are flying that he is going to declare for Tennessee. This is a kid who's been committed to LSU for over 11 months, and I'll believe he's switching when I see it. If you think about it, why would he call a press conference in front of his school, which is a big LSU school, btw, and then announce he's switching his commitment to a conference rival? It doesn't make sense.
On a different subject, I really hope we start to see a backlash against these elaborate and disrespectful "hat dance" commitments. I don't blame a kid for wanting a little fanfare, and I don't blame a school for wanting to get a little exposure for themselves, but now we're seeing kids do things that I think are just downright disrespectful, like picking up a hat and then tossing it aside with an insult. FSU commitment Greg Reid reportedly took an hour to make his announcement. Bobbie Massie disrespected Alabama upon committing to Tennessee.
It started with the hats. Then it went to the hat with the fake-out. Then it went to having a bunch of hats on the table and picking up another hat from under the table. Now, some players are actually going so far as to insult the teams they are not choosing. If you do not respect a team, why were they among your finalists? If you do respect the team, why would you insult them publicly like that?
Not all kids get off on this sort of thing. Fact is, most recruits do nothing of the sort at all and just make their commitments to the coaches and then tell a recruiting reporter about it. I hope the days of the elaborate commitment ceremony are coming to a close. It would be hard to escalate it any further, so there's only one way for it to go.
We'll be discussing this recruiting class a lot more in the coming months. I think it's a good class, one with a fair number of likely immediate contributors and also a lot of people who have the potential to develop.