Tuesday, January 18, 2011

College Football Recruiting is the Red-Headed, Middle Step-Child of Satan

I hate recruiting.  Hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it.  Every single thing about it.  The act of 17 and 18-year old drama queens holding thousands of adults hostage, the obsession over how many stars a recruit has, perfectly sane people turning into irrational dipshits across all forms of media and the mess that is National Signing Day.  It's all a horrible monster that dumbasses like you and me have created and, as much as it needs to be taken out back and shot, it doesn't seem like that's possible.

Every year I say I'm not going to get sucked in and put up with the crapfest surrounding recruiting, yet around this time every year I find myself obsessing over the whims of moronic high school seniors.  However, this year, mostly thanks to a disastrous 4-8 season, I finally made a commitment (RECRUITING BUZZ WORD ALERT) to avoid it as best I could.  For the most part, I have succeeded, as I do know the five or six big names Ole Miss is after right now, but after that, you could tell me Donny Sabertooth is locked in on the Rebels and I would believe you, but not before asking if he knew how to coach defense because we also really need that too.

What's so awful about the recruiting process is that successful recruiting is completely necessary to keep a program from going 4-8 and giving up a quarter of a million points.  You screw up a couple of recruiting classes and the next thing you know you're three Kentucky turnovers away from going 0-8 in the SEC for the second time in four years.  That kind of pressure makes it an absolute must to kiss ass, give a high school senior an even more inflated opinion of himself and let him run the recruiting process.  And it's completely insane.

In what organized, functioning society are 17 and 18-year olds ever allowed to be in charge of anything other than worthless, resume-building student government positions?  The answer of course is:  Not a damn one.  And there's a reason for that.  High school seniors are idiots.  All of them.  Their mood and ideas of what is important to them changes every 17 minutes.  Their sense of the world is confined to the bubble, whether good or bad, in which they live and have lived for the last 17 or 18 years.  THEY KNOW NOTHING.

Do you remember what you were like in high school?  If I met my high school self right now, within ten minutes I'd want to pummel him to death with my fists and a bag full of rocks.  I was, you were and these kids are INSUFFERABLE JACKASSES.  So, to stroke their ego, tell them what they want to hear and promise them great things creates a human being that is capable of becoming more awful than they're already programmed to be.

Now, I said high school seniors are idiots, and they are, but by recruiting time, which starts for good players in their junior year, they have developed the ability to understand that they're very valuable to someone outside their family and circle of friends.  That recognition comes once they are aware that they're very good at football and are revered in their high school and community for their football-playing talents.  As more and more outsiders continue to lift them up and praise them, the ego and sense of self-worth explodes.  Soon, they begin testing the waters to see who will do what for them.  People around at their school, around town and eventually college coaches.  They turn into people I want to beat with a bag full of rocks.

But, because recruiting is so insanely important, we are forced to tolerate these creations.  We have to endure the terms "committed," "lean," soft-commitment" and the dreaded "DECOMMITTED."  We watch ON TELEVISION as one of these assholes pretends to grab the hat of one school, then selecting another to wear as a sign of his official commitment, which, of course, is not binding at all.  And we voluntarily put up with all of this because if we don't show enough concern or care about one of these little shits, we watch in horror as our team loses to a Jacksonville State.

So how do we remind high school seniors that, while a few years away from being a contributing member of society, they're only slightly more important than kid in junior high?  Blow up the way the entire recruiting process works, starting with any appearance by a high school player on television other than local television.  ESPNU games?  GONE.  Televised hat-selection commitments?  DESTROYED.  Recruiting rankings and player interviews and profiles on recruiting websites, where grown men ask them things like, "So, did you like school X?  Also, me and half my subscribers would like to have a baby with you."?  SENT PACKING THE WAY OF AOL SCREEN NAMES (this would also bring about the end of recruiting websites, which is the ultimate goal).  And absolutely, positively zero part of anything related to signing day is to be on TV.

The less important and individualistic we make recruits feel, the less crap from them we have to endure.  These are stupid, immature kids suddenly thrust into a spotlight created by all of us and behave just how your or my high school senior self would act.  They're not equipped to handle it (just as we were not), yet we continue to put them there.  It's time to throw that spotlight, and perhaps some of ourselves, off a bridge and remind them that, while they may be talented individuals, it is grown-ass people who run things and you'll get back in line and wait your turn. 


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