Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Recruiting character

Tuesday May 27, 2008

First, let’s straight away rid ourselves of the notion that Georgia and Mark Richt are immune from this discussion. It’s true that no Georgia player has been unloading firearms around Athens lately, but for the most part all programs are dipping into the same pool when it comes to recruiting top talent.

I struggle with a cynical response to all of this. Is it that coaches have a difficult time identifying character issues, or do they have a problem overlooking those issues? After all, if you pass on someone due to character issues, not only do you risk being "known as the person that denied Johnny a scholarship", but you also risk the prospect winding up down the road at a regional or conference rival. Then you get to answer that other question: why can’t you recruit top talent?

Like most, I find it hard to believe that coaches are/were using text messages or even evaluation visits to brush up on a prospect’s character. They’re not hanging out with the kid’s friends or observing how they approach schoolwork. The extent of communication or observation that would be necessary to get a real sense on someone’s character goes well beyond any reasonable limit. There are teachers who see these kids every day who don’t have a handle on the real character of many of their students.

Fulmer does make a valid point when he says that, "it’s hard sometimes to find out information about them because people aren’t completely honest with you about them." Recruits (and their parents) are increasingly savvy about packaging and parceling out information.

So what to do? Willingham mentions using a "service" to get information, but I’m not sure how far that goes. With the amounts at stake, I could almost see programs placing private detectives on retainer to do the digging. NFL teams do it. The only difference is the age of the players – there’s something borderline creepy about tracking an 18-year-old. You don’t want to be the first program caught snooping around its prospects, but are we not far away from the point where that becomes a necessity?

One Response to 'Recruiting character'

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  • It’s not just the coaches.

    There’s no guarantee that being a 5 star recruit means he’ll wind up playing on Sundays, but it’s still got to be something that a talented kid is aware of as a possible destination.

    I know we’re talking about teenagers, but even so, I’m simply amazed so many of them are short sighted about risking their prospects for a potential pay day.