As parents and coaches know, I am not a big supporter of internet recruiting reporters who are always trying to be the first to break the news about a high school football recruit. I realize that college coaches use them to get inside information, but I just feel that some recruiting reporters go over the line.
I call recruits once in a while to get personal information, if I happen to be writing a story on them. I return calls, if a parent or player has a question. Sometimes I have to explain that I am not one of those guys looking for the edge. I remember last year, after I convinced Moeller's Hubbard that was not interested in his schools of choice, or what college coaches were telling him, we had a nice 20 minute visit comparing lacrosse and football.
I received an email about a high school coach decrying recruiting hype with one of his players. Damien Harris, a top running back from Madison Southern in Kentucky is rethinking his commitment to Michigan. Of course, the "recruiting experts" were all over the story. Head coach Joe Clark is annoyed.
"It's been ridiculous," said Clark, who did not like it that some media felt they had a right to know everything about Harris' decision and that some fans were critical.
"People think that they have a right to know every little that's going on all of the time. People forget that he is a 16 year old kid, and I had to tell them to back off and be respectful. If he wants to be private about stuff, we're going to be private about stuff, whether they like it or not."
Clark said he also has a message for college fans and media. "A kid will never make a decision to go somewhere because of the fans or the media. But kids will make a decision not to go places because of that."
"People think they have a right to have access to these kids because they are on social media. But they don't. They are kids, not adults. And they don't have a right to have access to them."
His thoughts were interesting and somewhat enjoyable. He might as well be talking to Hunter, my lab, because things will get worse before they get better. A reporter from New Jersey texts recruits during school hours. Another reporter, here in Ohio, makes up parts of his stories. Some recruiting reporters actually tell recruits to which college programs they should be thinking about committing.
College coaches, as I mentioned earlier, use recruiting writers to get information to and from the recruit. Big business and sometimes an ugly business. The more a social media person writes about a prospect who favors his school, the better publicity for a coach.
Joe Clark had some good points, but football recruiting can also be good. The high school player, if he is being recruited, must have played some good football. The high school player, if he is being recruited, is getting recognition for his high school. A high school player, if he is being recruited, gives recruiting fans, something to talk about. Finally, a high school player, if he is being recruited, helps recruiting experts make a lot of money.
I have always believed that a top football recruit is really in control. Media needs him. The colleges really need him. Top recruiting camps need him.
My advice is simple. Put everything in perspective. Do not get "blown away" when a college coach talks to you. Have as much fun with the recruiting process, as possible. Bottom line - "Big is not always better." Put everything in perspective.