Time Out with Newt Clark

Photo Courtesy of the GTAA

Even though National Signing Day for 2013 was nearly a month ago, in the world of college football recruiting never ends. College football coaches are already out recruiting prospects for class of 2014 and 2015, and if you’re Nick Saban, the class of 2017. One of the biggest issues with recruiting is a player committing to a school, and then decommitting. According to the AJC, out of the 190 high school football players that signed with FBS programs from Georgia, 50 of them had at one point decommitted. I realize the recruiting process is about the players and them choosing the school that will be best for them, but it can be very frustrating for coaches and fans of the school that lose the commitment of the player. I believe there are many flaws in the way the current system is setup that allows players to be able to decommit, but I have a few suggestions that I believe would make the process more efficient.

Here is a hypothetical situation of a common occurrence in the recruiting process that leads to players decommitting. I’ll use the name John to represent the high school football player. John is a cornerback who has received offers from various small colleges, but has yet to receive an offer from a big BCS school.

In November, John receives his first BCS offer from Georgia Tech. After thinking it over for a few weeks he isn’t sure Georgia Tech is the school he wants to go to because he really wants to play in the SEC, but he also doesn’t want Tech to give the scholarship to another player, so John decides to go ahead and commit to Tech. Now since the Tech coaches believe thay the scholarship is filled and they have the cornerback they have wanted, they decide to shift their focus to recruitng at other positions.

Meanwhile, John continues to have a stellar senior season on the field and is gaining interest from even more schools. As National Signing Day approaches in February, Mississippi State decides to offer John. John has always wanted to play in the SEC, so he decides to flip to Mississippi State, which leaves Tech with an open spot. Since Tech thought they had their cornerback the whole time and had shifted their focus to other positions, they haven’t had much contact with other top corners and are now left with just a few days to try to convince an uncommitted prospect to come to Tech, or they will have to flip someone themselves. If Tech ends up flipping a player from another school, then this whole process would just repeat itself at that school.

My suggestion to fixing this particular situation is to get rid of the whole committing without it truly meaning you are committing. When a player decides on whatever school it is that he wants to go, he just sign then and there. If this were the case coaches wouldn’t have to worry about losing a kid at a certain position because they know they have him locked up. It would also save tons of money for schools on travel. With the way it is currently set up, coaches have to continue to visit committed prospects to make sure they keep the interest of that player and he doesn’t flip to another school. If the rules were changed to where players signed immediately, then coaches could continue to communicate with players, but wouldn’t have to visit as often.

College football recruiting is a very complex topic and there is a lot more to it then what is mentioned here. Although my suggestion would not make it perfect, I do think it would be a step in the right direction.