High school coaches say colleges offering too many prospects

Jackson coach Mike Parris is about as experienced with the recruiting game as any high school coach in the state. While at Forest Park High in the early ’90s, he got an up-close-and-personal look at the phenomena as schools clamored for the services of two of his players, first safety Corey Johnson and then a quarterback named Hines Ward.

Parris has seen a lot of changes since then, and a lot of them he doesn’t like. There’s one recent trend that really bugs him.

“Schools are offering way too many kids,” said Parris, whose latest recruit, Neiron Ball, committed to Florida earlier this week. “Some of them are worse than others, but they’re all doing it. None of them can sign more than 25 but I hear about some of them offering 40, 50, 100 players. Inevitably you’re going to have a lot of disappointed kids.”

Scout.com keeps track of such things and, according to its websites, Georgia offered more than 100 prospects for the 2010 class. Georgia Tech, which has only 12 open slots for 2010, has offers out to 40 recruits. Qualifier here: That’s according to Scout, which gets its info from recruits. Schools can’t comment on prospects by NCAA rule, so it’s impossible to know exactly. And just because a prospect says a certain school offered him doesn’t make it a fact.

In any case, high school coaches say it’s definitely a trend, and definitely a problem.

“The ones that I feel are the worst are the MAC schools,” said MLK coach Corey Jarvis. “They’re offering everybody. It’s hurting those guys that are late bloomers. There’s a lot of kids that don’t get a chance to play until their senior years. It’s just moved the whole process up too much.”

I’m not going to take a stand on this right now. I’m just starting to look into it and will eventually write a story about it. In the meantime I’d love to hear from you guys — and from coaches and players — who may have seen some tangible examples of this.

Coaches and players, email me at ctowers@ajc.com with some anecdotes and some contact info and I’ll follow up.

63 comments Add your comment

Pablo

July 29th, 2009
12:15 pm

Georgia is a big offender on the baseball side of this as well.

SC Dawg

July 29th, 2009
12:16 pm

From the colleges’ point of view, this is a necessity. What happens if that recruit decides to attend a rival school? It goes both ways.

Cuttysark

July 29th, 2009
12:19 pm

Personally, if players are receiving more offers, then they are sitting in the driver’s seat in this recruiting process, provided they make a decision to commit early and secure themselves a spot in the class. It’s no different than going down the cereal aisle in the grocery store today than it was 25 years ago. More choices provides more competition and options for a high school kid to receive an education no matter where he decides to go. Just like a variety of cereal choices.

For the Georgia Tech perspective on football recruiting, as well as other aspects of the football team, go to isportsweb.com and read the Georgia Tech articles on how Paul Johnson was hired, as well as a review of the individual positions for the upcoming season. Go Jackets!

John

July 29th, 2009
12:40 pm

I believe the coaches make it clear to the players recruited that there are a limited number of scholarships available per position, and slots get filled as people take offers. It is definitely a two way street, and the best of the best can wait until after signing day and still have their choice. It’s the marginal (half dozen players of same approximate skill) guys that suffer because they wait too late.

Last year I vaguely remember something like Urban Meyer rescinded a scholarship after the kid (from GA, a “three star” recruit) had accepted but the class got too full when a better caliber player wanted the spot after UF so Meyer took the offer back not for disciplinary reasons like Dexter Moody but more a character issue if that’s the real way it happened. I don’t think Mark Richt would ever do that sort of thing to a kid, but he would have to tell them all that it’s first come, first served for position scholarships. Otherwise you end up recruiting 10 RBs and no OLs. One or two scholarships maybe you hold for the (hopeful) next Herschel, as if there will ever be one.

One last point: I’d be pretty shocked if any Division I coach ever looked at a recruiter website like Scout or Rivals or gave a rat’s rear end about how many “stars” a player has. Coaches look at film and combine work. I guarantee the coaches at UGA last year were as happy Ben Jones came to play center as any other recruit they signed last year, and he was a “three star” guy. I watched tape of Ben running people into the ground at the combine and then he’d jump on top of them so they couldn’t get up. The dude was mean and hungry when he visited campus…and by the time he leaves school, he’ll be first team All-American at least once if not twice or more. This years OL is going to be sick. If anybody can run the ball and Joe Cox reaches his completion goal, we’re going to be a lot better than people think. The defense needs the Junkyard Dawg mentality to be reborn, and we might be looking at something really special…

TOM

July 29th, 2009
12:51 pm

John, mark richt just took a scholorship offer away from a Craver high school recruit and was banned from recriuting at that school. He is NO different from any other coach so get your head out of the sand. IF,IF IF a donkey had wings it could fly…so goes the story for the doggies this year. Even if the doggies are better than last year that doesn’t them better than the best. Even when you get better players they still have the some old coaches coaching them.

Vincent Brown

July 29th, 2009
12:52 pm

It’s too bad so many of the kids get hurt in this process of the FBS schools that just throw out offers to get in the game. If the parents and prospects do some homework they will be able to sort through what is real and what is not. The good high school coaches really know how to help them also take a look at some of the FCS schools like 2008 National Champions, University of Richmond.

JBTs

July 29th, 2009
12:58 pm

CMR took the scholorship offer back from the Carver player prior to the player giving his verbal committment to play for UGA. For how this season goes for the Dawgs. The O will be just fine. The season will hinge on the D playing displined football.

SEC

July 29th, 2009
1:03 pm

its like saying the first 5,000 fans who come to turner field get a free baseball cap. If you are 5,001 dont be upset with the braves, be upset with yourself. U snooze u lose. This isnt even a good discussion.

JBTs

July 29th, 2009
1:12 pm

No school will sign 100% of the players they offer. If you sign 25% of the players you offer that is a strong season. To sign 25 players any school will need to offer in the area of 100 players. How could this ever be taken as a negative?

tenn.DAWG

July 29th, 2009
1:20 pm

It’s pure ignorance (like the carver coach) to think that because an offer is extended in Febuary,it will still ba available in July.If there is something about first come,first serve that players and their parents don’t understand, then maybe it should be mandatory that all policies and procedures are posted publicly in school.Make sense?

Gene Smith

July 29th, 2009
1:21 pm

If you want to be a top ten team, then you have to recruit the better players. These players get offers from 50+ schools. (It has to feed their egos) A team like Georgia Tech could offer all 100 of the top players, and would be lucky to get 2. If a player says, “I have no favorites,” and you want to be in the mix, you offer, and take the gamble. Most coaches tell the recruits how many players they are planning to sign at a given position, and the player has to commit, or miss out later on. It is in the players court, not the coaches.

gt

July 29th, 2009
1:35 pm

What gets me is how one kid will get 25 – 50 offers and most of the time he’s an average kid. I was at Lassiter’s 7 on 7 a couple weeks ago and their was a kid from Henry County with the strongest and most accurate arm there and I spoke to him later and asked him how many offers he had and his answer was ZERO

Gene Smith

July 29th, 2009
1:39 pm

Its all about hype. I bet he had not sent out any film, either. Some high schools are very professional about promoting, and some leave it totally up to the player. His coach should be the one with the experience to help.

brick

July 29th, 2009
2:02 pm

If colleges weren’t making a mint from college athletics, college coaches weren’t being held accountable for the product they put on the field this wouldn’t be a problem. Sure colleges can sign 25 a year, but how can they afford to offer just 25, if those 25 or part of those 25 opt to go elsewhere, then the school will be shorthanded. Alot, if not most of these kids know where they want to go before they get the first offer, if their “dream” school offers why not commit on the spot instead of trying to build a resume of college offers? They can only commit to one, have the offer they want, but still attend camps trying to obtain offers. And lets not forget the hs coaches who are taking them, its also a feather in their cap to have D1 athletes on their team. NCAA rules name a number you can have on roster, a number you can have in for Official Visits, but they do not limit the number you can offer, or even sign, just admit to school in a given year. I know this is going back to the Carver situtation, but UF refused to take a Ga kids committment this past weekend, why are we not doing articles on that incident as well?

TampaGator

July 29th, 2009
2:08 pm

Chip, I totally agree that this is a serious problem and will lead to more issues like the one Georgia had recently in the future. My brother’s son (a small but very quick DE and one of the best long snappers in the state of Florida) was offered by a lot of schools. Not the big ones like Georgia and Florida. But schools like Furman, Western Carolina, Troy State, Southern Illinois, and Miami (Ohio)…just to mention a few. He was riding high the summer of his junior year in HS. In the end, when he told one of the schools he wanted to commit during his senior year, they told him they no longer had a place for him. He checked with another school and was told basically the same thing. Turns out, he was only a last option with most of these schools, with Furman finally stepping up with a solid offer. He then serverly broke his leg during his senior year and did not receive any final letters of intent to sign. He was just a piece of meat to these schools and it broke his heart. It took him years to get over it, but he did even though his dreams as a young kid were crushed. So, it even happens to recruits that are not the big time recruits out there.

Alabamadawg

July 29th, 2009
2:16 pm

According to Rivals and Scout, in the last three recuiting classes, Saban has signed 85 players. Which is all the scholarships you can have at one time ( I believe ). So, how does he have any to give out this year ??? That 85 he’s already given out doesn’t include the players left from Shula’s classes…And yes I know that 25 is all you can give out in one year, but when you sign more than that, the extra players are expecting a scholarship down the road…

quaildawg

July 29th, 2009
2:30 pm

CHip,
I know you stated that you have no way to verify the numbers on “offers” but I will go on record as defending UGA. Rodney Garner has stated time and again at the Signing Day pressers that UGA extends very few offers in relation to other schools in the conference. It was speculated then that the number was 50-60. So when you say 100 I find that to be a bit exagerated coming from whatever source.
He and Coach Richt have talked about at length that when the decision to offer is made that the coach who is recruiting better be darn sure on the prospect because (with the exception of the recent snafu regarding an offer) if he accepts then UGA honors the offer and expects that scholly to be off the table.
Doesn’t necessarily mean the kid signs, as we have all too often seen kids do the switcheroo at the 11th hour.

Herschel Talker

July 29th, 2009
2:30 pm

TOM likes men

La Jolla Dawg

July 29th, 2009
2:31 pm

I too think this is a non-story. Think about how difficult it can be to get into college for non-athletes. There is always the chance that someone who is better qualified will come along and take your spot. Life isn’t fair, there will always be competition, be it for jobs or spots on a team or acceptance to a college of university. How many times do these kids back out of their verbal commitment prior to signing day? It happens and they have the right to do so. Nothing is set in stone until signing day.

Sooo.....

July 29th, 2009
2:36 pm

I don’t see a problem with Colleges offering more scholarships than available. Most kids and coaches know that each school has a limited number of scholarships to accept. You are not going to get every one you offer so you have to offer more to meet your needs. When you are offering the kids that are getting 40 or more offers you have to offer a lot more because your chances of landing that kid is less. It’s just a numbers game. If you know you want to go to a school, do your research and committ. It’s rare that a coach rescinds an accepted offer. Rescinding an accepted offer and not accepting a committment are two totally different things.

Frank Lane

July 29th, 2009
2:37 pm

I agree with the notion that kids just have to make up their minds earlier. Just like any other perishable commodity. I do think however that no one should be offered until after their Junior season. The let them make as many offers as they wish.

H.S. Coach

July 29th, 2009
2:38 pm

We see it mostly from the mid level schools who are trying to get in early on kids. Lots of kids will sign with the school who recruited them from the beginning.

Tide Rising

July 29th, 2009
2:39 pm

Alabamadawg,

Saban knows what he’s doing and what the numbers are and how many seniors are graduating to make room and all that. He also knows that some players will transfer, go on medical scholarship, not qualify because of grades, get booted by him for discipline problems, grayshirt, etc.

This is much ado about nothing. Of course teams offer 100 schollies for about 25 open slots. Its because the players have 6 official visits and usually at least 5 or 6 teams minimally that they want to look at. So if you only have about a 20% chance of landing a recruit then what in the heck is wrong with offering 100 guys? As the committments fill up the coaches keep in contact with recruits left to let them know they are filling up and to let them know if there is a chance of the staff having to pull the offer. This is all on the up and up. As I said much ado about nada.

G

July 29th, 2009
2:45 pm

Chip, I thought when I opened the blog that you were going to be talking about schools that knowingly accept too many commits versus their open spots, and then have to run some of them off or “grayshirt” them. Now that’s a problem worth investigating.

What you mention is normal, to be expected, and is the way every school should do it. It’s not a problem at all unless you don’t understand the system.

Dawg Lover

July 29th, 2009
2:45 pm

This is simply known as the “Law of Averages”. No one school (Ga, Ga Tech, Alabama, Florida, Southern Cal., Notre Dame, Michigan, etc., etc., etc.)is able to close the deal 100% of the time. Therefore, this is why they offer 80-100 kids routinely. Does it stink that some kids get caught in the crossfire once in a while? Yes, by all means it does!!! The situation at Carver-Columbus is not as bad as many(especially the coach) make it out to be. Georgia rescinded their offer before he ever committed. But lets face it, it’s very early yet and he still has plenty of time to do his due diligence. Signing day, afterall, is not until February. The NCAA forces schools to offer only so many scholy’s every year, and Georgia is no different in that regard; and, they are no different in rescinding scholarships either. My humble opinion is that this coach is making a mountain out of a mole hill, because one of his kids got his feelings hurt. Additionally, the coach is an Auburn grad. Could that have anything to do with it? Again it does stink, but this is a part of the process and a part of life!!!

ReptilesRule

July 29th, 2009
2:46 pm

The current state of recruiting is a disaster! EVERYONE is guilty and it’s gottn out of hand the way schools are playing the players and players are playing the schools. Under the current system, players can commit and decommit as many times as they want and schools can offer as many “uncomittable” offers as they want. We really need some different rules here, for example…1) An EARLY SIGNING date of the last Wednesday of every July. 2)Schools cannot make an official offer until April 1 of a students JUNIOR year and a specific number of official visits will be allowed during early period per school 3) All early offers are official and committable until early signing date on which if not fullfilled will automatically expire but renewable by the school. 4)If a player makes an early pledge (official commitment signed off by his high school and parent/guardian) and then decommits, he may NOT sign (with any school) during the early period. He must then also REDSHIRT (not play) his first year with any subsequent school he eventually signs with. Any opinions?????

[...] commits to Clemmins.  And two other high school coaches think the problem with recruiting is that schools are offering too many kids (the MAC is the worst [...]

78 DAWG

July 29th, 2009
2:55 pm

Mark Richt would never do anything wrong. You need to get in church Chip! Stop spreading rumors youre jealous of CMR and his success. He never offered the kid from Columbus! More of Urban Liars lies!

SEC Football

July 29th, 2009
2:56 pm

The entire process has gotten out of hand. You can also look at all the schools some of the kids say they are considering and you know it is no way some of them have a chance. The NCAA needs to look at this and come up with some changes to protect both sides.

Saint Simons

July 29th, 2009
3:03 pm

lets talk about tight ends, my favorite position on the team.

Anthony

July 29th, 2009
3:07 pm

This is easy to correct. Make the verbal commitments binding on the schools but not the players. If a school contacted an athelete that was a verbal commit to another school the offending school would be docked 3 scholarships per offense. You would not have many.
It would work by having the player fax a commitment letter to their school and an NCAA recruiting office that would list each of these alphabetically in a data base on-line. Each school would be responsible for keeping track of the kids they are recruiting.
The athelete would be responsible for faxing the NCAA to uncommit to a school up until National Signing Day. This would take more kids off the table sooner, and keep the school from having to keep recruiting kids that are commited. So the schools would have to offer less scholarships in the first place because the picture would be much clearer sooner. No offer should be allowed to be made before the last day of September of the begining of the athletes Junior year.

South Georgia Dawg

July 29th, 2009
3:16 pm

The schools that like recruiting as is are doing great and the schools that are yelling “it has gotten to be crazy” are not doing great. Is this so much like life in general? These kids know a school may offer five linebackers, but only plan to take two. I also believe most kids know where they want to go upfront, but they like to take the trips. I guess it is a perk for the really talented players. Sure does cost a pile of money though.

Dekalb County Coach

July 29th, 2009
3:19 pm

Vincent Brown, I’m glad you read the blog maybe you will stop making the same offers this article is talking about. The college coach has these one on one conversations with a child and throws the offer out there but never sends the offer letter and it is not only the big schools its the black colleges also that are guilty of taking advantage of these impressionable kids

WVMountaineer

July 29th, 2009
3:28 pm

Yes, schools are offering more than they can bring in….but these commits are changing their minds all the time about who they’ve committed to and where they will attend. All that matters is who signs in February. All this other garbage is simply smoke and mirrors and dress rehearsal for 2010.

SickandTired

July 29th, 2009
3:43 pm

Yeah, yeah yeah…..everbody is guilty but Saint Mark. I swear you dogg fans are something else…..how do you like how I spelled dogg? May the force be with Marky Mark Mark….cause you all know that god is on his side and he’d never do nothing wrong and would only recruit above board…..Bag Man rules……Git-R-Done Rodney….get those good playas in school so the staff can mess em up.

T-Rav and the Eastside Grainger

July 29th, 2009
3:53 pm

Richt rescinded the offer before the kid even committed. Yeah, he just waited until the kid was on campus getting ready to. Hell, he coulda picked up the phone and called the kid and saved the teenager the embarassment. Man, sign my kid up for this guy.

Paul Hamilton

July 29th, 2009
3:54 pm

How in the world do you only offer the exact amount of scholarships??? Not every kid is going to pick your school, and you can’t wait until signing day to determine it and then try to find replacements.

Yes, if Georgia is offering 100 kids for only 21 spots, that is a bit extreme, but it’s a first come first serve basis. If they pull your offer before you officially commit because the spots are filled, than I don’t see the problem. This is standard format for professional sports, in spring training you invite a bunch of guys and slowly trim the list, in football you sign a bunch of guys and you trim the list as the cut dates arrive.

If your are national school and you have your eye on a quarterback, if you only offer that guy and he picks a different school, what do you do at that point? If you didn’t offer any of the other top quarterbacks, and your guy decides to wait until signing day, you could really get screwed and then the fans would be pissed! Each school’s fans want their schools to win the NC every year, but play nice with the kids in recruiting? This is a non issue because your damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Dawg Lover

July 29th, 2009
3:59 pm

SickandTired, no one says Mark Richt is guilty or not guilty. All college programs do this. Big or small! I’m curious…who do you think recruits “above board”? Fact is all coaches, recruiters, colleges do this. There is only enough room for a certain number of players. Do you only interview with one employer when you are looking for a new job or when you graduate college? Of course not. Just like the companies you are interviewing with don’t just have one candidate in mind. Again, this is a part of life and these kids are “interviewing” for a job for the next 4-5 years of their lives.

shane#1

July 29th, 2009
4:03 pm

Reptiles Rule, I don’t care for your name but I like your ideas. I do think number 4 would never be adopted. Stealing another schools recruits is how some coaches get their jollies.

Long Dawg

July 29th, 2009
4:03 pm

What is the problem here? If 50 people interview for 12 jobs and only 12 are hired should the other 38 be pissed off? That’s life boys. The coaches don’t have any guarantee that anyone they offer will say yes. It is up to the players to make up their minds and commit if they are offered or wait around so they can see how many offers they get and then lose out because they didn’t make up their mind fast enough. I don’t see this as a problem. The recruits need to wise up. It is dog eat dog in real life and this is no different.

Dawg'88

July 29th, 2009
4:17 pm

Sorry but a lot of this is because of the players holding the schools hostage. They tell the coaches one thing and then do the exact opposite. In my opinion, this the coaches response. They are covering themselves in case a recruit is being dishonest or even if they legitimately pull back their “solid commitment” (HAHA!!!).

No one is without blame here. The players make a big spectacle of how they choose a school such as the “announcement” festivities….putting on the hat of the school they “commit” to. The players are also being lied to by their own coaches. They are being persuaded to do things not of theown choosing. Perfect example: Another player from Carver that UGA is recruiting said quote: “I will not talk to UGA again until my coach says that I can.”

What??!?!? They kid and his parents can’t walk/talk without a HS coach’s say so. Who gave him that power? So see its not all the NCAA coaches fault. They are looking out for their own best interest in case a family, a player, or a HS stiffs them right before signing day. Those without sin cast the first stone.

aztec

July 29th, 2009
4:19 pm

i dont think my aztecs are guilt of this over recruiting at all

TybeeDawg

July 29th, 2009
4:21 pm

Pretty dumb topic…what would you have schools do? Only offer the same number of kids as they have scholarships available? You would last one year as a coach.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 29th, 2009
4:24 pm

2 signing periods. Then it will give the coaches and the players a better chance to evaluate all options on the table. It works both ways, either commit early or gamble and lose out.

Reality Check

July 29th, 2009
4:40 pm

quaildawg – UGA has actually offered over 100. I am a huge dawg fan but you sir seem to be a koolaid drinker. Do some research and don’t just go on what you hear. See the link for yourself.

http://uga.rivals.com/offerlist.asp?SID=878&Sport=1&Year=2010&School=26

CHARLOTTE DAWG

July 29th, 2009
5:17 pm

Back to TampaGator’s post about what unfortunately happened to his family member. That stinks! But sometimes coaches do the right/nice thing and it doesn’t work out for the program.

Case in point: Caleb King-Everyone wanted a piece of that kid. Everyone. Then he brokes his leg. Scholly’s started getting rescinded left and right I believe. But Richt stuck with him just like we are sticking with that Walton High School DE recruit.

However, should we stick with these guys? I know it is the stand up thing to do but it is painfully obvious that Caleb King is not the same RB before he broke his leg. Should Georgia have done what most other schools did and rescind the offer? That’s for each individual to decide.

Caleb, we are calling you out son! Prove me wrong and I’ll never be more happy to eat crow. But I don’t think I am. (I’ve also never played RB or broken my leg so I have no idea what he dealt with or is dealing with but I am just writing what I have seen from him as a fan that doesn’t miss a game). Go Dawgs and pray we have someone step up at running back!

slobodan

July 29th, 2009
5:50 pm

Hey Tampa Gator: I love that phrasing in your post: ” had recently in the future.” Are you Yogi Berra trained? Please take this as a light hearted comment..

TampaGator

July 29th, 2009
5:51 pm

Simply, the NCAA, college Presidents, and the high school football associations need to set stricter guidlines for the high school recruiting process that is fair to the coaches and the athletes. But the NCAA can’t figure out that the BSC bowl championship system is messed up. So how could we think they can fix the recruiting mess?

TampaGator

July 29th, 2009
5:57 pm

slobodan…you are right, my adverb, “recently” should have come before the helping verb, “had” in the sentence. Thanks for the grammatical awareness. I should have known better. I am sure you could have understood my sentence if I had written it proper English format. It probably would have helped even more if I had seperated my dependent clause from my independent clause. You know what those are, right?

TampaGator

July 29th, 2009
6:16 pm

slobodan…to guote Yogi….”I made a wrong mistake”….and I guess my “nickle” writing “is not worth a dime today.” God bless, Yogi Berra. The world will not be a better place when he is no longer here.