Recruiting is only going to get crazier

Published 12:03 am Sunday, February 2, 2014

Wednesday marks National Signing Day in the college football world, a day of utmost importance when it comes to the future of a program.

Signing day is the day prep football standouts can sign letters of intent to play football at their colleges of choice. All the recruiting efforts of a college coaching staff are culminated on this day — and many college football fans pay close attention to who their favorite school signs.

How important is recruiting? Well, you can’t win without good players. Coaches know this, obviously, but most fans know this, too. That’s why you have companies like 247Sports, Rivals and Scout that track recruiting and rank recruits, all while making millions off fans for subscribing to their websites to follow recruiting.

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It’s not unheard of for some of the most die-hard college football fans to suddenly come down with a 24-hour bug the first Wednesday of each February and to take off work. Of course, they’ll fight this bug with plenty of rest — and by “rest,” I mean sitting in front of a computer and keeping track of whom their school signs.

In our neck of the woods, the athlete with perhaps the biggest profile is Wilkinson County High School all-purpose athlete Devin Voorhies. Voorhies has been committed to LSU since July 2012, and the Tigers are recruiting him as a defensive back. As someone who is signing with an SEC school, Voorhies is an example of how to handle recruiting the correct way.

Voorhies knew early on he wanted to go to LSU, and who can blame him? The Tigers are a top-tier college football program, and Baton Rouge is only an hour away from Woodville. What makes Voorhies a positive example is how he handled the process. As soon as he knew which school he wanted to attend, Voorhies committed to that school — and stuck with it.

I’ve spoken to Voorhies on a number of occasions, and he’s a polite young man who carries himself well. I don’t sense any arrogance from him at all.

Unfortunately, his example is likely the exception in this process. More often than ever, recruits are flipping their commitments at the drop of the hat. Furthermore, like Voorhies, many of these athletes have a good idea of where they want to go to school, but they draw out the process to build up excitement and enjoy their time in the spotlight.

Not all situations are the same, of course. If a player has been committed to one school for a year, then their dream school comes calling after showing no attention at first, it’s difficult to turn that down. If a coach leaves or gets fired, that’s also an understandable reason to want to look around.

But part of me laments the fact that committing to a staff means very little these days. As this goes forward, more and more flips will likely be common. Also, if you already know where you want to go, why not just go ahead and commit instead of pretending like you have a “top five?”

Fans are partly to blame. After all, they’re the ones who might take National Signing Day off from work. They eat this thing up — they give the players a platform. Who doesn’t love a good drama, after all?

We can all appreciate people like Voorhies who keep their recruitment relatively low-profile. He’s certainly one of the few to do so.