In the interest of full disclosure, two weeks ago I set up a search column on Twitter via my Tweetdeck to keep up on Internet rumors about where a certain high school football player might go to college. And I had I known almost 30 years ago that I would ever type that string of words, I would’ve told my father, “Yes, pops. I would love to sell insurance.”
Thursday is my favorite day of the year. That’s because it’s the day after national letter of intent day, when the creepiness of grown adults — OK, some not so grown — consumed with where 18-year-olds go to school moves back into the shadows.
I get why recruiting has grown to ridunkulous proportions. Our obsession with college football has mushroomed. It follows that the feeder system into college football has blown up with it. Technology like Twitter and Facebook just makes it easier to lurk. When it’s
all over, I just want to take a shower.
There was a moment two weeks ago — right about the time I was setting up the search column for Isaiah Crowell — when I started feeling some animosity toward some of these high school players. It wasn’t a jealousy thing at all. It was more the thought of teenagers stringing this out on a public stage and in some cases (like Crowell) waiting until signing day to make an announcement.
Then I read this comment from Jadeveon Clowney, a defensive end from Rock Hill, S.C., and considered by most professional dart-throwers as the nation’s top recruit. Clowney, who still hasn’t made his decision, was remarking on the recruiting process when he said: “At first, it’s a big thrill when coaches like Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier call. But by the middle of the year, that feeling wore off. Now I just let the calls go to voice mail.”
Once I stopped laughing over the thought of a groveling Nick Saban leaving a voice mail, I thought: Why wouldn’t these kids milk this for all its worth? The fawning is so extreme and protracted, it would be difficult for anybody to be immune — let alone a teenager.
But to Georgia fans, I’m going to ask you anyway: Are you irritated that Crowell, who’s possibly the biggest key to this recruiting class, has not announced his decision? Logic says he has made up his mind. Does he need to hold a 1:30 p.m. news conference on ESPNU at a Columbus community center on signing day — five to six hours after Georgia will announce most of its class? Just asking.
For what it’s worth, I’ve unofficially set the odds: Georgia is a 3-2 favorite over Alabama.
While you ponder the question, here’s the plan Wednesday:
♦ Chip Towers and Michael Carvell will be blogging from recruiting central. At the end of the day, the rest of us will scoop up their ashes and donate them to the Smithsonian.
♦ Tim Tucker and I will be in Athens. I will be Tweeting the names of the confirmed Bulldogs recruits as they become available. Georgia will only release them as it receives the signed letters, but here’s a link to the verbal commitments. If you follow me on Twitter at @JeffSchultzAJC, I’ll Tweet the confirmations. We’ll also get them posted as quickly as possible.
Via Chip’s blog, two of Georgia’s recruits will not be signing right away: As always, the grand majority of recruits will be signing with their respective schools tomorrow, and most will have done so by noon. But not everybody. Mitchell County wide receiver Justin Scott-Wesley is waiting until Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. Nose guard John Jenkins of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College won’t sign until 1 p.m. Saturday so he can return home to Meriden, Conn., to be with his family at Maloney High School.
♦ In the morning, I’ll post a column on Georgia’s recruiting class and how coach Mark Richt still has his most important mission ahead: getting recruits to live up to their “stars.” That column will be updated later in the day after Crowell’s announcement and comments from Richt.
♦ I probably also will post a separate blog when Crowell makes his announcement. He’d be Georgia’s most important recruit because he can make an immediate impact at running back.
That’s it for now. The Georgia column will be posted next, unless word leaks out on Crowell’s decision or something less important, like world peace.
By Jeff Schultz