What you don’t know about college football recruiting…
Lots of pressure on both student players and college coaches; some students will be donning the colors of their new school, others won’t
By Tom Behrens, firstname.lastname@example.org
At press deadlines National Signing Day for college football is just days away. Many of the area’s gridiron stars have selected their future destinations; some are even already on campus, while others will announce their decisions on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
The latest information on the top 100 from the Houston area, the following student athletes have made the following decisions:
DT, Corey Bethley, Katy, TCU; LB, Breydon Boyd, Katy, Boise St.; TE, Cameron Horry, Taylor, Texas A&M; TE, Parker Eichenberger, Katy, Houston; OL, Hayden Howerton, Katy, SMU; DE Ryder Anderson, Katy, Mississippi; WR J.C. Angulo, Katy, Undecided; and OL, Kenneth Pleasant, Seven Lakes, Undecided.
Katy High School’s two-star defensive back Keegan Otte is committed to Penn, with two-star linebacker Raymond Randle is headed to HBU.
Taylor’s Ethan Beek is expected to join Randle at HBU. Seven Lakes three-star offensive lineman Kenneth Pleasant had at least 20 college offers from which to choose, including Houston, North Texas, SMU, Texas State, Texas Tech, UTSA and Texas in state.
Cinco Ranch has defensive back Ben Mathiasmeier set for Columbia. “Ben Mathiasmeier, our free safety, committed to Columbia, a Division 3 school. They don’t do scholarships, but they give academic money,” said Cinco Ranch Head Coach, Don Clayton.
Other Cinco Ranch signees are J.T McComas, tackle, who will be attending Colorado School of Mines; wide receiver, Greg Williams Jr., Blinn Jr. College; Elliel Ehimare, defensive tackle is looking at several division 2 opportunities right now, as well as a couple Junior Colleges, but hasn’t made his mind up, same with center, Connor Walsh, looking at a couple of Division 3 schools.”
The ripple effect …
Head Coach Clayton explains what sometimes happens on National Signing day, what he calls the ripple effect, which you don’t see reported in the newspapers, except here in the Katy News.
“Everybody thinks that’s the day you have to sign. You have some players who didn’t maybe get the Div 1 school like they thought they were going to get, so they go 1-AA…the Sam Houston’s, the SFAs, HBUs. The kids, who thought they were going to go to those places, are now going to Div 2 schools. You have other kids that something didn’t work out for them, but they may be a pretty good student, and still want to play football, so they sign to go to a Div 3 school.”
Clayton tells about one of his former players who signed with the University of Texas after the signing date. Texas had lost one of their recruits that they thought they were going to sign. All of a sudden that opened up a spot. They had that extra scholarship, and it was one of Cinco Ranch players who received it.
There was a recent story that reported that some college coaches will offer scholarships to more than 200 players, telling them that it’s first come, first served. If a player doesn’t commit early, he is threatened with losing his spot.
Colleges commit to kids for scholarships, but sometimes when it comes time to give them out, they don’t have enough scholarships.
“I have seen that happen,” said Clayton, “It’s not very scrupulous.” For example, if a college has 20 scholarships, they’re probably going to target 55 kids knowing full well that the 55 kids they target, not all of them are going to go to their school. Maybe the top 10 they want, everybody else wants. Maybe that kid has already committed to somewhere else, but they still have an offer on the table in case it didn’t happen somewhere else.
It turns into a juggling game for the colleges. Unfortunately sometimes they will drop somebody. “Hopefully it’s done the right way; they let the prospect know far enough in advance that it was going to happen,” said Clayton.
A lot of the schools will tell a player they need a certain score on the SAT. If the athlete doesn’t attain that goal, then that gives the college a chance to slide out on their scholarship offer if they need to.
“What some schools do, and they don’t really advertise it,” continues Clayton, “they’ll hold back one or two scholarships. The thought is ‘we’ll use this one on somebody that has a great spring training, or we’ll use it on somebody who got dropped by somebody that changed their mind.’ That way they don’t just get painted into a corner. They’ll hold back a scholarship or two just in case ‘Mr. Right’ becomes available.”
Recruitment starts early; unfortunately it’s gotten out of control. That’s why the NCAA at their last convention proposed a December signing date for football.
The NCAA initially proposed creating two additional signing days, one in June and one in December, to ease the pressure. But the June date was dropped after the Division I Council meeting. The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) voted unanimously in support of the December addition and in opposition to the June addition.
Athletes who are strongly committed to a school can make that commitment official in December, while others who are still on the fence can see how things shake out while they wait for the traditional February signing date. This allows both athletes and coaches time to examine the landscape without the pressure of everything happening at once.
You don’t get into a situation where a kid will make a change at the last minute.
Advertising a student …
“I hope no one at our school feels the need to spend x amount of dollars for someone to make a video that will be sent to a college,” said Clayton. “The kids have video available of their games. It so easy now because it’s all internet based; it would be easy for kids to make their own highlight video, and easy for coaches to make highlight video.
“People have to understand high school coaches have a direct tie to these colleges. The coaches come to us. They want to know more than what they see on video. What kind of a student is he? Has he had any issues?
“I had to testify before the NCAA four years ago, and I told them one of the biggest problems we are facing are ‘street agents’, people who come in and convince a parent that if they pay x amount of dollars, they’ll get their son recruited. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Not all of these people are bad people, but there are too many who are trying to make a dollar off of people, and in return the people don’t get what they thought they were going to get.”
High school coaches have direct access to college coaches. “They ask us. I’ve talked to several already this morning about some of our kids. Bottom line is that coach that visits with us is going to ask all the questions he needs answers for; he is going to trust the person who has been working with the kid in practice and games for the last three or four seasons.”
And finally …
I hope all the Katy ISD football players who wanted athletic scholarships, got their wishes fulfilled on Wednesday. The same wish goes out to the colleges looking for the best candidates for their programs. But now after all the guessing and hype is over, let’s remember it’s just a game. Go out and have fun.