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Rumorology First Round: Recruiting

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The best of the most sordid tales of BAGMANNIGANS.

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Recruiting is the major thing keeping the message board industry going right now. Whether it’s the politics of ranking or the mysteries of why kids make their college choices, it’s the one thing every major fan base finds a way to argue about.

We know the legendary stories of illicit payments, and they can get wild enough on their own. SMU’s famous 80s slush-fund included the friggin’ governor.

But the crackpot theories are still pretty good as well.


1. As the Plains Burn

In the course of his Heisman Trophy/national championship season for Auburn, news broke that Cam Newton’s father had solicited payment for the quarterback’s services, namely from Mississippi State.

It wasn’t a huge logical jump to assume that Auburn had received a similar request, or honored it given that...you know...Newton was playing for them (Ed. Note: true or not, Auburn very CLEARLY got their money’s worth). Naturally, this whole deal spawned a legion of message board investigations.

But one towers above all.

As The Plains Burn

Compiled by SEC Rant user BlueTunaTiger, this extensive report alleges — and you may read it all in the link above, condensed into one handy document — an incredibly complicated scheme involving the use of TARP funds from the Federal government laundered through various sources, including multiple Alabama casinos, by Auburn boosters to help fund the recruitment of Cam Newton.

If it all sounds like a lot, trust me, the read gets better.

2. Operation Red Dog

The Auburn Fambly struck back with their own message board recruiting scheme around this same time. “Operation Red Dog” was born out of the Inside The Auburn Tigers message board, as effort to expose the Alabama recruiting machine right as the Tide were beginning an unprecedented run of top-ranked classes.

It was alleged that Auburn fans paid hired private investigators to look into Dodge Chargers that wound up in the hands of certain recruits in and around the Gadsden, Alabama area. With pictures of license plates and VIN numbers supposedly showing up online.

I don’t know what more needs to be said.

3. Ryan Perrilloux

For most of his recruitment, Laplace, Louisiana’s Ryan Perrilloux — the No. 1 quarterback and the top player in the state for the Class of 2005 — was committed to the University of Texas. But on National Signing Day, he announced that he would be joining new head coach Les Miles at LSU.

While Perrilloux’s career in Baton Rouge had its own rollercoaster ride, the theories from Longhorns fans on how LSU was able to turn the recruitment ran the gamut. From gubernatorial pardons for incarcerated families, to an extensive scheme involving poker chips from the Belle of Baton Rouge riverboat casino.

In the meantime, the Horns signed Colt McCoy. So I’d say it all worked out.

4. Noel Ellis’ Uncle

This is a deep cut for LSU fans, but one that remains very funny to me. Noel Ellis was a fantastic high school cornerback out of New Orleans’ Edna Karr High School. A multi-time all-state pick, Ellis seemed primed to head to DBU, right on the heels of superstars like Patrick Peterson, Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu.

Only LSU never offered Ellis, instead recruiting Shreveport’s Tre’Davious White. An uncle of Ellis (or cousin, some sort of relation) began to attract quite a bit of attention ripping the decision, swearing that Ellis had outperformed White at the best camps, and that LSU coaches were making a huge mistake. Not only in choosing White, but in allowing Texas A&M (Ellis’ college choice) to gain a foothold that they would use to dominate New Orleans recruiting. The poster claimed that White was overrated, only recruited for his legacy status (he is a cousin of Mo Claiborne) and among other things, not smart enough to qualify for LSU.

White finished in the top five of his high school class and went on to have a storied career at LSU as an All-American and first round draft pick. He also graduated in four years. Ellis, meanwhile, finished his career in College Station with 29 career tackles and one interception as a career reserve.

5. #5for5

The 2014 recruiting cycle was a loaded class for the state of Louisiana, and LSU was poised to clean up, both at home and in the surrounding area. On the day of the Under Armour All-American game, the hashtag #5for5 began to circulate with expectations that the program would receive the commitments of five superstar prospects during the game broadcast: running back Leonard Fournette, safety Jamal Adams, defensive tackle Gerald Willis, cornerback Tony Brown and receiver Speedy Noil.

But as the game passed, only Fournette and Adams joined the Tigers. The meltdown on LSU message boards was pronounced, particularly with in-state players Noil and Willis heading to Texas A&M and Florida, respectively.

Of course, in the end, LSU still got the right ones. Adams and Fournette went on to amazing careers at LSU as stars and top-10 draft picks. Noil and Brown were nondescript at A&M and Alabama, both struggling with off-field problems, while Willis was later kicked out of Florida before eventually having a strong final season as a Miami Hurricane last year.

6. Ratphuc Hobley

Less of a rumor and more of a running joke, posters on an LSU message board listed Ratphuc Hobley as one of the top prospects in the state, and the name caught interest from some recruiting media, who were never quite in on the joke.

It’s a legend that still lives on.

7. Mack Brown Recruited (insert player) as a Safety

As Texas’ fortunes declined precipitously following a national runner-up season in 2009, quarterback, and the inability to find one, was a recurring topic. Particularly as schools like A&M, Baylor, TCU and Houston managed to find pretty good players in their own rights. Heisman winners like Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel had all been recruited by the Longhorns...but Mack Brown saw them more as defensive backs.

Soon enough, almost every good quarterback to come out of the Longhorn state seemed to have a similar story attached.

8. Brent Calloway

Auburn may be paranoid, but that doesn’t mean Alabama isn’t out to get them. Calloway was a four-star running back/linebacker prospect out of Russellville, Ala. in the 2011 recruiting class. Many had expected Alabama to land Calloway, but he wound up choosing Auburn early on signing day. At least, verbally. Calloway’s letter of intent wound up in Tuscaloosa, with allegations of Calloway being shangai’d by a Muscle Shoals “businessman” and his step-father, a man named “Peaches,” in order to help secure the choice.

I’m not sure what needs to be said besides that, other than noting that Calloway was a very notable flameout in Tuscaloosa.


Poll

Which rumor was crazier?

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    1. As the Plains Burn
    (160 votes)
  • 21%
    8. Brent Calloway
    (45 votes)
205 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which rumor was crazier?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    2. Operation Red Dog
    (132 votes)
  • 34%
    7. Mack Brown recruited [player] as a safety
    (68 votes)
200 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which rumor was crazier?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    3. Ryan Perrilloux
    (66 votes)
  • 69%
    6. Ratphuc Hobley
    (149 votes)
215 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which rumor was crazier?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    4. Noel Ellis’ Uncle
    (108 votes)
  • 46%
    5. #5for5
    (94 votes)
202 votes total Vote Now