About recruiting. . .
Long-time readers know of my general distaste for recruiting rankings and the monstrous hype of the process leading up to national signing day.
Commitments are celebrated like winning lottery tickets, and commitments, after all, are only promises and promises are broken all the time. That is especially true of 17- and 18-year-olds.
Much of my contempt for the various ratings services has been based on the fact that many of Mississippi’s most successful football players have been lightly recruited if recruited at all. Among those: Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, Brett Favre and Archie Manning.
All that said, much has changed in the last decade or so. The inexact science of recruiting has become more exact. This is true because of summer camps and combines where college coaches can measure, time and watch the prospects up close and personal.
Brett Favre’s strong right arm, hidden in his father’s wing-T offense, would no longer be hidden. Neither would Walter Payton’s speed and strength.
There are fewer and fewer of what have been known as “diamonds in the rough.”
That is not to say they do not still exist. Austin Davis, winner of the 2011 Conerly Trophy and now a back-up quarterback in the NFL, was a walk-on football player who signed a baseball scholarship. Last season’s winner, Bo Wallace, was a 2-star high school quarterback who originally signed with Arkansas State.
Johnthan Banks ended his high school career as the 23rd ranked player in the state (Rivals) and ended his college career as the Thorpe Award winner as the best defensive back in the country.
Ole Miss signed the nation’s No. 1 recruit Robert Nkemdiche Wednesday to much fanfare. But Robert’s brother, Denzel, chose Ole Miss over almost nobody else and became a freshman All-American. Denzel, it appears to these eyes, was under-sized and over-hearted. If his big little brother plays with the same passion, he will become one of this state’s most celebrated college players ever.
We shall see, which is what we should always say about recruiting and recruiting classes. We shall see.
About recruiting, I only really know what I read. It would appear that Ole Miss and Hugh Freeze have stunned the nation with the Rebels’ haul. It would appear that Mississippi State has an extremely solid class, and it would appear that Southern Miss’s Todd Monken has made the best of the bad situation he inherited.
Again, we shall see.