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My Take 2/1 - No guarantees in the recruiting game

My Take 2/1 - No guarantees in the recruiting game

My Take 2/1 - No guarantees in the recruiting game

Matt Yogus


 

You’ve seen it before.

It’s a college football game, there’s 12 seconds left, the home team is down by two and the quarterback throws a 40-yard bomb down to the 17-yard line to get into field-goal range.

The clock stops, the home team rushes to the line of scrimmage and the QB spikes the ball to stop the clock and set up the game-winning kick.

Not to get all philosophical or anything, but it’s amazing when you think how that entire hypothetical situation all started with National Signing Day.

Well, long before that, really.

Before those kids were making that play on Saturday, the likeliest scenario is that they were playing prep football on Friday nights not that long ago.

Maybe they were stars and maybe they weren’t, but either way, as the coach of the home team, you had to go out and find them. And that was just the beginning.

In a scientific process that is anything but exact, you had to find out all the info — the kid’s home life, his academic life, his on-the-field tangibles and intangibles and all the vitals like height, weight, strength, speed, etc. — just to figure out if the kid is worth recruiting in the first place.

A 40 time for a high school football player might just be more important than his SAT score.

Then, the fun begins.

Other coaches want this kid too, so you’ve got to compete against them and sell this player on why they should play for you, all the while keeping in mind that this is an 18-year-old kid who, despite how sure you are that he wants to play for you, might just make the decision on the morning of signing day to go play somewhere else.

All those hours you put in to get this kid on your team amount to basically nothing.

But, the first Wednesday of February rolls around and you get most of the kids you were expecting would sign on the dotted line.

Great.

Now, you’ve got to worry about how this kid adjusts to the college life, how his work ethic changes in a new environment, what position he’ll actually end up playing and the big question — whether or not he can be a contributor at the next level.

He goes through classes, two-a-days and life away from home, and after all of that, he’s still a missed exam or an injury away from never seeing the field.

Finally, against all odds, he sees the field, and actually cracks the starting lineup.

It’s the final drive of the big game, and after all he’s been through, there’s still no such thing as a sure thing — especially when that one play needs to be made if you’re going to win the game.

It really is almost impossible to think of how much work goes in to winning a football game. And when you really think about it, all it really comes down to is a long series of coin tosses.

You could have the best recruit in mind, and he could choose to go somewhere else. You could get the best recruit for your purposes in the door, and it may turn out he can’t adjust to life away from home or in the classroom, can’t catch, can’t hold on to the football or can’t break a tackle.

It may even be as simple as not being able to handle going to class when everybody in the room knows your name.

But if all those coin tosses fall the way you called them, there are still no guarantees.

The o-line still has to block, the quarterback still needs to make the throw and the receiver still needs to make the catch.

Oh yeah, and you’ve still got to make the kick.

When Georgia Southern signs its 2011 recruiting class on Wednesday, there will be some names we’ll hear for the next four or five years. There will probably be some names we’ll never hear again. There will probably even be some names the coaching staff wasn’t expecting to hear.

But when all is said and done, after all the talk, the analysis, the hype and the work that goes into presenting a recruiting class, it’s still just a 50/50 proposition.

One big coin toss determines whether or not a college football recruit will succeed, and that’s about all there is to it.

 

Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

 

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