De-committing: The “dark side” of college football recruiting (complete list)

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The dark side of recruiting is “de-committing,” or when a football prospect commits to a college and one or both sides decide later on to go separate ways. There are many reasons for this to happen. With the state of Georgia projected to have between 175-185 high school seniors to sign FBS (formerly NCAA Div. I-A) scholarships, 12 prospects have already had their offer rescinded by a college or reneged on their original commitment. We take a closer look at the dozen:

Imani Cross, RB, North Hall (undecided): Cross was the first commitment of Tennessee’s 2012 recruiting class, remained loyal to the Volunteers for nearly a year, and then began looking elsewhere last month after being encouraged by Derek Dooley, according to Cross’ father. “[Dooley said] they hired a new RB coach from South Carolina and don’t know if he’s a Scat guy or Spread guy, so they were re-evaluating backs and that Imani should look around at other schools.” Cross has official visits scheduled for East Carolina on Jan. 13 and Nebraska on Jan. 20, and may also travel to Virginia, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.

Ex-UGA WR recruit CJ Curry

Ex-UGA WR recruit CJ Curry

CJ Curry, WR, Flowery Branch (Oklahoma State): Curry was the first commitment for UGA’s 2012 recruiting class but flipped shortly after making an unofficial visit to Oklahoma State last summer. Said his father:  “After we started on our way back [from OSU], I asked him what he thought about it. He said ‘Dad, I loved it.’ Now he knows I’m a huge Mark Richt and Georgia fan. I told him ‘CJ, when it comes to choosing where you go to college, you’ve got to be a little selfish. You can’t go where your mom or I want you to go. It has to be what’s best for you.’ He said ‘Dad, in my gut, Oklahoma State is where I want to be.’ He just really liked the coaches and felt comfortable. They were really detailed about where they stand with him as a football player, as far as playing time as a freshman.”

Ex-Florida RB recruit Mike Davis

Ex-Florida RB recruit Mike Davis

Mike Davis, RB, Stephenson (undecided): Davis was pledged to the Florida Gators for nearly a year before abruptly de-committing last month. Why? Davis felt misled by Florida’s staff. He also was upset by the love the Gators showed for 5-star RB Keith Marshall, who picked UGA over Clemson, along with Florida and South Carolina. Said Davis: “Only one [Florida] coach was sent to my house [for an in-home visit]. But the next day, [when] you send a whole coaching staff to another running back’s house, then there’s something wrong.” Davis said he has already picked a new school but won’t reveal it yet. Some think it’s UGA. His finalists are UGA, South Carolina, Clemson, Florida State and Tennessee.

Khalid Henderson, LB, Pebblebrook (undecided): Henderson committed to Tennessee last summer, and thought things were going along smoothly until talking with Dooley a few weeks ago. “Coach Dooley said there is a ‘possibility’ you might not be coming to Tennessee. He said you have two options: ‘You can stay committed to us, wait it out and see what other players do. Or you can de-commit and try to get some attention from other schools but that doesn’t mean you can’t come to Tennessee’ or whatever. He was very iffy about everything. He wouldn’t say anything concrete. He kept on using that word ‘possibility’ … I thought it was a bunch of crap.” Henderson said he has an offer from Mississippi and heavy interest from UGA.

Nicholas Gibbons, OL, Stephenson (undecided): Gibbons had been committed to Memphis since last summer, but said he had his scholarship revoked after the college recently changed head coaches.

Tre Griffin, DE, North Cobb (undecided): Griffin was the first commitment for Vanderbilt’s 2012 recruiting class but said he had his offer rescinded in October after scoring a qualifying ACT score too late. “They said ‘Sorry, the slots are full.’ I had a bunch of emotions after hearing that. I was confused, a little upset, disappointed and almost embarrassed. I had been doing all these interviews, talking about how great Vanderbilt was and then they do that.” Griffin said he is hearing from Georgia Southern and UT-Chattanhooga, among others.

Ex-MTSU recruit Jarnor Jones

Ex-MTSU recruit Jarnor Jones

Jarnor Jones, FS, ML King (committed to NC State): The 6-4 Jones is a basketball player  who only became serious about football within the last year. Middle Tennessee State saw enough potential to both offer and accept his commitment last summer. However, other schools noticed Jones while scouting his teammates, and he flipped to NC State over Maryland and West Virginia around Thanksgiving.

TJ Moon, RB, Stephenson (undecided): Moon had been committed to Florida Atlantic since last summer, but said he had his scholarship revoked after the college recently changed head coaches.

Josh Parris, TE, Stephenson (committed to Syracuse): Parris switched from South Florida after he said USF coaches changed their mind months after he committed, saying he projected to play fullback rather than tight end.

Ex-Tennessee WR recruit Keithon Redding (AJC)

Ex-Tennessee WR recruit Keithon Redding

Keithon Redding, WR, Columbia (undecided): The speedster committed to Tennessee last summer, but the relationship soured after Tennessee WR coach Charlie Baggett stepped down – and Redding “never really heard from Tennessee after he left.” When Redding was finally contacted by another assistant, he was turned off by the Volunteers because they kept emphasizing the need for wide receivers from junior colleges. “I just didn’t have a good feeling about the situation anymore.” Redding has official visits scheduled with Mississippi on Jan. 20, and said he is working out dates for trips to Mississippi State and Kentucky.

Shadrach Thornton, RB, Liberty County (committed to Kentucky): Thornton might be the best running back in the state that nobody has really seen. He got off to a fast and furious start in recruiting by committing on his first official visit, which was to Kentucky. Thornton later said it was a “soft commitment” and vowed to finish his four recruiting trips. He was expected to choose between Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt, but pulled a surprise by pledging to NC State. Said Thornton: “When I told NC State that Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt were my leaders, they refused to give up on me and move on. That showed how much they wanted me because I’m sure if I had told the same thing to Georgia Tech or Vanderbilt, they would’ve moved on to other players.”

Ex-USF DB recruit DJ White

Ex-USF DB recruit DJ White

DJ White, DB, Union Gove (committed to Georgia Tech): Once upon a time, White was perhaps South Florida’s most celebrated commitment, pledging to USF shortly after winning DB MVP honors at last April’s Nike prospect camp. He de-committed from South Florida last month because “the program seemed a little unstable, so I decided to step back and re-evaluate some things.” Shortly after opening things up, White made an official visit to Georgia Tech and committed on the spot.

Note: There is still time for more. With about a month away from national signing day, we expect to finish with at least 17-18 de-commitments for the state’s Class of 2012. Maybe more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT OVER THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND …

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

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112 comments Add your comment

uga_alum_93

January 3rd, 2012
1:35 am

Derek Dooley is so unethical in the way he has jerked these recruits around. I can’t believe he is Vince’s Son…he definately doesn’t have the class of Coach Dooley. The GHSA Coaches talk to each other… I don’t think this will be viewed by them too favorably.

Tucker Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
2:05 am

I hope the high school coaches from this great state join together and ban Derek Dooley from recruiting their players. He lies to young men on a regular basis. Three so far is not an accident. Who will be next? I can’t believe he is related to Vince Dooley. As a Dawg fan I’m ashamed of that connection. I know a fine Christian man like Coach Richt would never pull this BS.

Bean Counter

January 3rd, 2012
2:06 am

Once again the problem of schools offering more scholarships than they have slots has reared its ugly head. The schools are getting to the point that their word means nothing. The NCAA needs to address this situation and come up with a solution.

JT

January 3rd, 2012
2:20 am

Interesting that there are 4 Stephenson kids on this list. I’m not inferring anything, just interesting.

NewnanRxDawg

January 3rd, 2012
2:39 am

over signing at it’s almost worst. The worst is when a rising junior or senior who has slipped on the depth chart but otherwise has done nothing but show up and practice hard is told that his scholarship is being revoked to make room for new recruits. (Saben, Spurrior, Nutt…the list of repeat offenders goes on)

P. Bull Terrier

January 3rd, 2012
2:52 am

Mike Davis sounds like the “me first” kind of player that UGA needs to stay away from. If he gets his feelings hurt enough to de-commit from Florida just because they sent more coaches to the nation’s top RB recruit’s house than they sent to his, I can’t imagine how he will react if he isn’t handed the #1 spot on the depth chart. Let him quit on someone else. I heard Derick Dooley has a few new openings at Tenn.

Atl Vol 90

January 3rd, 2012
3:19 am

I disagree, UGA alum 93. I think Dooley was correct in telling the recruit that there was a new coach on offense and, therefore, the offense may have a different focus. What would have been wrong would have been to continue to mislead the recruit into believing that there would be no changes when in fact there apparently were going to be major changes in focus which may result in less playing time for the recruit. Tell him before he signs — don’t wait to let him find out after he is already on campus.

NotCommitted

January 3rd, 2012
3:25 am

Call it as you see it, but Dooley is giving these kids a chance to find somewhere else to go. He very well could have not said anything and strung these kids along, making them think they are his number one choice until signing day, then not offer them. That’s been done in this business before. All it means is he has someone else that he thinks would be a better player on his wishlist.

NotCommitted

January 3rd, 2012
3:42 am

http://highschool.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1313543 Here is another story on primadonnas like Mike Davis.

westlakefootball

January 3rd, 2012
5:42 am

I think Dooley was right

George P

January 3rd, 2012
6:03 am

I don’t think Dooley is right. Once an offer as been extended and accepted, then an agreement has been reached. It’s not right for either side, the school or the player, to later decide they didn’t really mean it.

A school shouldn’t offer a scholarship until they are serious about it, and a player shouldn’t accept until he is serious about it, either.

Paddy

January 3rd, 2012
6:43 am

Did I read this wrong? UT signs a new rb’s coach and they are not sure of what kind of running backs he likes! So maybe you should look around until our new coach decides what he likes to coach!
It is early in the am so maybe I have missed something.

Tampa Gator

January 3rd, 2012
6:44 am

Mad because they sent more players somewhere else. Give me a break. Who does this kid think he is……News for you……Georgia, Tennessee, and Clemson would have done the same thing with Marshall. Wish you well at whatever school you attend. But you better change your attitude before you get there….or you will eventually end up at Jacksonville State or North Alabama.

Tampa Gator

January 3rd, 2012
6:48 am

Mike Davis is now very upset by the number he was assigned at the all-star game and nothing could please him. Please, Mr. Davis, take your skills and attitude anywhere but Gainesville. He has trouble written all over him.

King Gator

January 3rd, 2012
7:23 am

Read that story too, sounds like he needs a little reality check or he’s in for a big surprise after he inks his scholly and gets to summer practices for who ever he signs with.

SuperB

January 3rd, 2012
7:27 am

Is Thornton committed to N. C. State?

Ken

January 3rd, 2012
7:41 am

I am really blown away by some of you guys and your comments towards these kids. In six of these cases, the coaches were dishonest or changed their minds on the kids.

If these kids just de-commit then you same people would probably be on here talking about the kids not know how to honor their commitment or how they lack character or are prima-dona’s. The coaches must be held to the same standard as the players.

If the coaches, who are grown men, can’t commit then what incentive does the kid have to do it

hiveredtech

January 3rd, 2012
7:45 am

Mike Davis reason for decommitting is absolutely silly and big-headed. I would not touch him with a ten-foot pole if I was a recruiter. No one needs someone like that in the locker room.

Some of these other kids I really feel sorry for. The NCAA screwed up by the change to delay written offers from Sept 1 of junior year to Sept 1 of senior year…even though many of these schools will not honor those either.

I have really come to understand why Coach Paul Johnson advocates kids being able to sign LOI’s whenever they want to. If a school offers early and the kid wants to go there…he can sign right then or continue to visit. This would eliminate colleges using kids as placeholders until they find someone better…as we see Alabama, LSU, and Tennessee do quite frequently.

FL Jacket

January 3rd, 2012
8:07 am

Hiveredtech…here here.

God forbid any of these kids ever factored into the equation where they are going to be in 4-5 years if they DON’T make it to the NFL and have to fend for themselves with the education they hopefully took seriously enough while they were looking for “their SEC slot”…

Hal

January 3rd, 2012
8:28 am

All of these guys have one thing in common. They have been told they are great all along the line from Pee Wees to High School . Then they actually start to believe it. When reality sets in and they find they are not the only fish in the pond they get their feelings hurt. Be thankful you are being considered for a scholarship.Take one where your needed and where you know you can contribute to making that team better. Getting a scholarship to a football factory in the SEC, Big Ten aor ACC is like walking accross a minefield. Go where you get to play if you love the game and the rest will take care of itself.

Walker, Texas Ranger

January 3rd, 2012
8:30 am

I see a pattern with Stephenson players. Word is the top guy is about to have a change of heart.

McDonoughGator

January 3rd, 2012
8:38 am

This whole “Recruiting” process is getting way out of control. With all of the allstar games and recruiting services, it gives these “superstar” kids a sense of entitlement. The NCAA needs to step in and cut some of the access to the recruits, but I don’t know how they can inforce any of the services and websites that represent each university.

Roll Tide with Pride!!!

January 3rd, 2012
8:51 am

Dooley is telling these kids that things have changed due to new coaches – which is better than being left at the alter. At least he is being honest. It is a 2 way street.

How many recruits pledge to a school to reserve their spot – but keep looking elsewhere. If a better offer – or a grass is greener offer comes along – like an Alabama – then recruits dump their original commitment. Remember Dwayne Allen – the best TE in country – playing for Clemson – he gilted UGA on signing day.

As for UGA – the Michigan State Loss tells you all you need to know about UGA.
A collection of good athletes wasted on a mediocre coaching staff.

A winning program will find a way to win games – UGA did not beat a decent team all year. 1-4 against ranked opponents….. with the 1 win against Auburn.

UGA will never win a NT with their current staff.

BwkDawg

January 3rd, 2012
8:52 am

With the Imani Cross situation Dooley makes himself seem to be a bit of a coward he’s the head coach you mean to tell me he’s not quite sure who he hired. (He’s not sure if he’s a scat guy or a spread guy)give me a break you should know that before you hire him. So if cross was not you guy be staight up and tell him, don’t say your not sure who you hired.

FL Jacket

January 3rd, 2012
9:00 am

What I find completely dumbfounding is signing a highly ranked and talented kid like Imani Cross and not adjusting your system to fit his talents.

Even CPJ ran more isolation and counter (more pro style running) plays to take advantage of Jonathan Dwyer’s athleticism.

juan

January 3rd, 2012
9:02 am

Everything is the wide open until day signing – for players and the coaches to.

The Alabama team the LSU are the best – they have the best caoching and must get the best players.

Georgia Tech and Georgia are good teams but not up high with the best in this country and need better coaches and players i think.

GTJason

January 3rd, 2012
9:03 am

I grew up a UT fan, went to GT and so did my allegiances, but I still cheer for UT. I have no idea what is going on with Dooley. Sounds like someone bit off more than he can chew in the coaching department and is now having to deal with unrealistic fans who don’t understand that Kiffin set the program back 10 years. Recruiting is already down under Dooley and it’s about to get worse. Hope GT and UGA can grab some of these recruits with real promises and not smoke and mirrors. There is plenty of opportunity to play early on both teams, especially GT…

Coach

January 3rd, 2012
9:28 am

…And playing time is important.

The ole ball coach

January 3rd, 2012
9:30 am

Dooley has bigger problems at Tennessee now that his DC and Linebackers coach has left… look out UTk defensive recruits ………

RedandBlackDawg

January 3rd, 2012
9:30 am

Dooley is feeling the hot seat, and he is probably trying to be honest with these kids, but I think he is making a mistake. If these kids are really good athletes they would be able to fit into the system, no matter the RB coach, unless he is looking for one particular type of player and he can’t adapt his style to any other. This much media attention will end up hurting Dooley in the long run I am afraid.
As for this young man named Davis. Please UGA, do not give him a scholarship. He is a younger version of Ealey in the making. This kid might be a good athlete, but he has me not team written all over him. Get a good team player like that young man from N.C. if possible and if not, go for another person entirely. UGA was mostly a team of players this year that wanted to play like a team. Don’t get a kid who is athletic but think the sun only shines on his butt. He will destroy team chemistry.

bitter QB

January 3rd, 2012
9:40 am

——————————————————–?——————————————————–

tide roll

January 3rd, 2012
9:49 am

MIKE DAVIS IS YOUR ANSWER UGA FANS. I’m sure however, you (AND ESPECIALLY, THE SANFORD SOUTH STANDS ALUMNI ) will find something wrong with Mike, like you do most of these other kids. What’s wrong, you don’t like Avery Young’s dreads? He must, therefore, be a bad kid, incapable of changing, and therefore not worthy of playing for your wonderful Dawgs. Who cares if DAVIS and YOUNG are EXACTLY what you need to become competitive in the SEC, they’re simply not worthy! Thank goodness that prissy quarterback of yours is not a “ME FIRST player! Yeah Right. LOOK UGA FANS, For once in your lives face the truth: YOU AND YOUR HALF ASS PROGRAM ARE NOT WORTHY OF MIKE DAVIS, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!. Sheesh. 31 years and counting, including a loss to MICHIGAN STATE! What a program.

collegeballfan

January 3rd, 2012
9:50 am

I agree in part with Hiveredtech that high school players should be able to sign the LOI when they want. But I would also say they could not sign until they are fully admitted to the university and have pre-registered for their first semester.

Les W. Moore

January 3rd, 2012
9:53 am

The media’s attention span is about as long as a dog’s attention span. 7 seconds.

At least Coach Dooley is telling these kids the truth. And he’s telling them several weeks before signing day. Would you rather he string them along then leave them standing with nothing on signing day? Or, oversign and ask them to pay their own way for a year?

Think before you rant… people.

Beast from the East Eaten by Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
10:01 am

“Only one [Florida] coach was sent to my house [for an in-home visit]. But the next day, [when] you send a whole coaching staff to another running back’s house, then there’s something wrong.”

Translation: He got a bigger piece of cake than I did, so I’m taking my ball and going home!

Good luck and good riddance, Mr. Davis. The University of Florida will be just fine without you.

Taco

January 3rd, 2012
10:01 am

Does anyone notice a high number of these boys are Stephenson products? The most over-hyped school in Georgia. Can anyone say Reggie Ball? Stay away from these kids and the Carver of Columbus kids. They are nothing but trouble.

Beast from the East Eaten by Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
10:05 am

Taco,
Think that’s a little unfair. You have hundreds of young men attending both schools. You can’t label them all as “bad news”. Would it have been fair to call all UGA players “thugs” the year before last because of the arrests of a few? I think not.

Nom Nom Nom Chuck's Taylor, or Norris if he is avaliable

January 3rd, 2012
10:20 am

Dooley ain’t making it another year at TN. Writing is on the wall.

Make an early signing period and make these kids and the schools honor their commitments. None of this being committed, but not signing or anything. Got to clean it up…and then get rid of the silly hat ceremony.

Nom Nom Nom Chuck's Taylor, or Norris if he is avaliable

January 3rd, 2012
10:22 am

And I don’t think Dooley is gone b/c of this recruiting issue (or lack thereof).

I want the guy to make it, but just aint gelling so far. And yes, this Davis kid seems to have a head issue, exactly what UGA does not need right now.

GT Man

January 3rd, 2012
10:27 am

We dont worry about de-commitments at Tech, who have you known that decommited from Tech to Elon, Ga Southern, MTSU, Troy or UAB ? Thats why PJ goes after tier 2 football players, because no big time will offer. Thats why Washington is our QB.

JRW7

January 3rd, 2012
10:40 am

CDD is giving the VOLS a bad name, and RECRUITS know this too!

gbal

January 3rd, 2012
10:51 am

I really feel like past recruits decommitting is the reason the coaches have now started to over recruit…. which has now lead to coaches/schools decommitting. I can’t blame a coach/school for insuring that they fill their needs with the top available recruits and having a back up plan in place should a recruit decommit at the last minute.

Of course you cant really blame the kids for making an early commitment to insure that they have a good college of their choice to attend… then if a coaching change or better offer comes along… changing their mind.

Really, too much is made of verbal commitments when neither the kid nor the school is really committed! The result is that neither the kid nor the school can truely plan for the future.

FL Jacket

January 3rd, 2012
10:56 am

GT Man (highly doubt it)…

Vad Lee and Justin Thomas would like to disagree with you. If your claim was true and Tech only recruited 2nd tier football players…the fact that CPJ is 34-19 in 4 years means he’s a pretty damn good coach then doesn’t it?

Or more likely…you don’t know what you’re talking about.

yearofthedawg

January 3rd, 2012
10:59 am

I don’t know Mike Davis, and I’m wagering that nobody else on this blog that is tearing the kid apart knows him either. Having said that…

His issue was that UF allegedly told him that he and Matt Jones would be the only RB’s in the class. Then they sent the whole staff to NC to recruit Keith Marshall. To me, that is a breech of trust. I would be hesitant to put my career in the hands of that staff.

This isn’t a slam at UF. If Gunner Kiel all of a sudden decided to be a Dawg, I’m sure UGA would take a good hard look at him no matter what they’ve told Bauta or Ramsey. I just get tired of people ripping teenagers they don’t know.

gbal

January 3rd, 2012
11:20 am

Multiple signing days would be an answer in my opinion. July, October, and January. And NO verbal offers given prior to the end of HS senior football season.

> Allows the kids to go ahead and commit early and avoid the continuous pulling from the schools after a decision has been made.

> Gives the kids the chance to commit early and insure that they do not get decommitted at the last minute by the school.

> Gives the school a chance to target positions that they need to fill w/out getting stuck with a de-commit last minute from a recruit.

I say do away with the verbal commitment all together. Continue to have verbal offers from the schools with the understanding up front that the offer is verbal and that circumstances could change with the schools if other recruits sign at their position.

Any recruit that passes on a early signing date, understand that the verbal offer is officially off the table once a signing date passes unless a new verbal offer is reissued after a signing date passes.

Having this one signing date in February while allowing offers and verbal commitments as early as a junior year is what creates all this problem.

Fleischman in Chi Towns Bed

January 3rd, 2012
11:22 am

How ’bout them dawwwwwwwwwwwwwgs ?????????

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHHAHAHAHAHA

What a joke! at least you have a full off-season of delusional, trash talking to look forward to.

2012 is our year… seriously! :)

There's no I in TEAM

January 3rd, 2012
11:49 am

Said Davis: “Only one [Florida] coach was sent to my house [for an in-home visit]. But the next day, [when] you send a whole coaching staff to another running back’s house, then there’s something wrong.”

Q. Mr Davis….when heading to the store, or out with friends, how does it affect you when someone else calls “shotgun” before you do?

“When I told NC State that Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt were my leaders, they refused to give up on me and move on. That showed how much they wanted me because I’m sure if I had told the same thing to Georgia Tech or Vanderbilt, they would’ve moved on to other players.”

Q. for S. Thornton…you’re sure that’s what GT or Vandy would’ve done? Sounds like an ASSumption not a fact.

And it goes on and on….
Recruiting is a joke. These kids are spoiled premadonnas! Looks like UGA got one from Columbus last year!

Hoopster

January 3rd, 2012
11:53 am

You guys calling Derek Dooley unethical and then turning around and saying “I can’t believe he’s related to Vince Dooley” must be kidding yourselves. Daddy Vince was as dirty as they come. Herschel’s Trans Am, the Jan Kemp scenario, the reason he pulled out of the gubernatorial race, 4.16, the cheating regarding recruiting. Did you guys lose your mind?

tide roll

January 3rd, 2012
11:53 am

31 years and counting. If Oregon can go 95 years without a Rose Bowl win, what’s stopping you guys from exceeding that record as it pertains to National Titles? Don’t give up Georgia, you’re already a third of the way there!! And as long as modern technology continues to allow Richt and Bobo to be in direct communication with one another during football games, you’ve got a shot!

Hoops Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
12:04 pm

Say anything you want to while defending Derek Dooley, but if there is a modicum of truth to what the linebacker from Pebblebrook (Henderson) says ( You may or may not be coming to Tennessee depending on what other players do), then it is hard to see this as something other than overrecruiting, which is unethical IMO. Supposedly head coaches are adults and men of their word. So when they offer a 17-year-old and go back on their promise, they set a hell of an example for an impressionable young man.