Unfortunately, I get emails from time to time from parents (sometimes high school coaches) asking how to handle a negative situation with regards to the recruiting of their son. "Why" or "Where do we go next?" I do receive emails about the positive experiences that a son has had, but, unfortunately, the negatives, at times outweigh the positive. Two days ago I received a disappointed one.
Back in the spring, an offensive lineman in the Class of 2014 made a verbal commitment to a BCS school. The school's program is on the rise and football is good right now. For me, because I know the situation there, I have concerns about their recruiting process. In fact, for years they were one of my schools, but two years ago dropped my service. No problem here. Recently, the coaching staff called and asked this senior prospect to take a "gray shirt" on their commitment list for the coming year. Problem here. Now, back in May they offered him and he accepted. Done.
First - A definition of "gray shirting." A prospect signs a letter of intent in February, but will not be able to report with in the fall with the rest of his recruiting class. He will delay entry to college until midyear, or usually January. His five year plan does not start until he enrolls as a fulltime student. In a sense, it is a delayed version of "redshirting." NCAA rules prevent a college from enrolling more than 25 scholar shipped recruits in the fall, but colleges can bring scholar shipped players who are over the 25 limit into school in midyear. Grayshirts. But grayshirts cannot enroll in college as fulltime students in the fall, cannot receive their scholarships, cannot practice with the team. The only advantage for the recruit is that they get an extra spring practice. If the truth were known, Ohio State really wanted Todd Boeckman to take a "grayshirt, but he did not.
The parents are frustrated, and, of course, who can blame them. Since their son had committed back in May, everything with recruiting was done. Colleges quit calling and no camps. All done. Not so, in late November the plans have changed. Back to step three of the recruiting process. I have put out his name to a few colleges, and he should find something.
I write about this situation, because parents need to be aware of the negatives of recruiting. They need to remember - that it is a business. A sometimes ugly business. Fun times, but also tough times. Just because a school like Ohio State, Michigan, or Alabama contacts you and you get to talk to the head coach, does not mean that they are seriously interested. They talk on the phone almost everyday.
One other story. A player in Northeast Ohio was offered a scholarship after a satellite football camp. In September he called the school to accept the offer. The school told his dad that he had to wait until they discussed the situation in a recruiting meeting.
Three "messin-withs." Alabama invited three Ohio prospects to a game this past season. The game was against some small school. Why didn't Alabama invited them to a high profile game? A coach told a high school coach that his young QB reminded him of Tim Tebow. Another college coach told a high school coach that they may not get a linebacker they wanted, so they may come back on a LB that they has previously rejected.
Although it is not ethically correct, sometimes I believe as a recruit I would take the first good offer, but I want it in writing. If something better comes along, I would de commit, and take the better offer. But my problem as a high school player, only two things stopped me from going to a big school to play football. Fear of getting hurt and No talent,
Obviously, I will not go into details about recruiting stories. I do not find any humor in them. But I have been doing this business a long time. I see and hear much. I am not beating my weak chest or trying to spread rumors. My intent is to make parents, coaches, and, most of all, the players aware of the good and bad in the football recruiting process.