Estes: Recruiters tend to play it by book

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

Quite a while ago (Jan. 19, 1997 to be exact) I wrote here in The Natchez Democrat that outstanding Natchez High and Ole Miss football player Allen Brown was enjoying a resurgence of sorts in football fortunes for the Green Bay Packers.

Like I said, the main topic was Allen Brown himself, the big ole boy who had shone on the gridiron at Natchez High and Ole Miss, then at Green Bay. There as big as life in The Democrat was big Allen Brown, tight end, clutching one of the two footballs he had from that many Super Bowls with the Packers.

The feature told about Allen and his teammates’ return to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1968. The story came out in January ’97, like I said, and all the hullabaloo was Allen’s joy at the Packers’ resurgence. He was beside himself.

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He talked about Brett Favre’s quarterbacking the Packers and how the Green Bay teams of 1966 and ’67 would make out if they had played the ’97 ball club.

&8220;We’d grind it out so much they couldn’t stay in the ballpark with us,&8221; Allen was quoted as saying.

&8220;They had (Bart) Starr there when I played, and he was from Alabama,&8221; Brown said. &8220;Green Bay has always had a bunch of Southern boys on their teams for some reason, I don’t know why. Usually most of their starters are from the South.&8221;

Allen also used to like telling how USM’s Curley Hallman recruited other son Burkes Brown.

&8220;Curley came over to recruit Burkes, which I told him was fine with me, that Burkes could choose where he wanted to go to school,&8221; Allen reportedly said back when all this was going on. Burkes finally followed older brother Tim to Ole Miss.

Brett Favre, as a matter of fact, had shown Burkes Brown around at USM. They became fast friends and Brett called Burkes several times. &8220;But he knew Burkes would end up going to Ole Miss,&8221; Allen said when it was all over.

But what counts is that all’s well that ends well. College football recruiting is a special kind of courting, usually done by honest coaches and staff members that know how far they can go in this business.

Not bragging, but I’ve been &8220;in the know&8221; when athletes were being recruited around here, and for the most part everything’s been on the up and up.

Now, I’ve got enough sense to know there’s a little hanky-panky going on. But honestly, recruiting is adults trying to talk young stars into joining their school rather than asking &8220;how much do you want to come with us?&8221;

Okay, I know how coffee conversations go, but there’s simply not that much big money floating around at recruiting time. After all every school’s &8220;the best around.&8221;

End of sermon.

Eli Manning &045; all eyes are on Eli Manning. Only natural, all the football minds that eyeball Archie’s son see greatness wrapped in that 6-4 young man with his own kind of spiral.

But there’s more than &8220;the spiral.&8221; There’s the quick-thinking, improvising ex-Ole Miss quarterback that first of all does no improvising if it can be avoided. Ole dad Archie was a master at improvising.

But let’s not get into that &045; just take the football and run the game.

Glenvall Estes is a longtime columnist for The Natchez Democrat.