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Post Continuing to redefine commitment

Monday May 21, 2007

One of the pitfalls of beginning the college football recruiting season earlier and earlier is that some of your early commitments will take the 9-12 months until Signing Day to reflect on their decisions, and some might end up changing their minds. The process doesn’t stop, and the competition won’t stop trying to sway a commitment until the Letter of Intent is signed.

There are those who will use that fact to point out how badly we need an early signing period in football. As the good Senator points out, that’s almost entirely in the school’s interest and not the prospect’s. Get him signed before he changes his mind or sees how our next season goes.

College recruiting has provided us with plenty of head-scratching terms over the years including the oxymoronic "silent verbal" or the favorite "soft verbal" which has done as much as celebrity marriage to set the bar for "commitment" as low as possible.

Recent events have inspired a new term. Call it the soft decommitment. A prospect goes so far as to back out of a verbal commitment to look at other schools but also hasn’t eliminated that original school. Georgia has had two such "soft decommitments" in recent weeks: offensive lineman B.J. Brand and running back Martin Ward. Both committed to the Dawgs earlier in the process, but as Brand put it, "I made a real quick decision and I like Georgia a lot, but I just want to make sure of things. I still like Georgia a lot and they are still up there on my list, but I am going to look around a little bit before making my final decision." OK…I can buy that. At least they were honest about it.

On a commitment scale of 1-to-10 where 1 is "John Capel undecided" and 10 is "came out of the womb wearing his future school’s colors", this new area is somewhere around a 5. It’s different from a soft verbal commitment since Mr. Soft Verbal doesn’t want to go so far as to decommit and risk losing his offer. Just for fun, here’s the rest of the scale.

Football Recruiting Scale o’ Commitment:

10: Odd birthmark in the shape of his school’s logo. Coincidence?

9: Becomes a recruiting intern and starts calling other prospects

8: Solid commitment. Makes his decision and isn’t heard from until he signs at 8:30 on Signing Day and shows up on time in August.

7: Committed, but hasn’t cleaned out his cell phone’s contact list just yet.

6: The soft verbal: claims he is still committed but has other visits lined up "just to be sure of my decision."

5: The soft decommitment: officially backs out of a hasty early commitment but keeps his original school at or near the top of his list.

4: Genuinely undecided but doing his homework

3: Major life decision is heavily influenced by paddleboats.

2: Anyone have a coin?

1: "I committed to Ole Miss because I really felt at home there. Just as I did at LSU the week before, Arkansas the week before that, and Tennessee last month. Where am I visiting this weekend?"

One Response to 'Continuing to redefine commitment'

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  • Early signing period in college football?

    It’s probably an idea whose time has come. Back in the day, some of the best drama in college football came not during the season, but in January and February as college football coaches scurried about trying to snag signatures…