That's the uncertain nature and business of college sports recruiting.
Some colleges recruit with leer jets and locker rooms with 50 feet big screen television and leather couches. Others recruit by giving money to high school coaches or hiring high school coaches.
Some have "family friends" give mom a car that players end up driving. Some guarantee playing time. Some find out every little thing about a kid and then play on his every whim.
Some leave recruits alone in rooms filled with unbelievable sports paraphernalia and clothing. Most take kids to the 50-yard line and give them a jersey with their name on it while their name is hailed over the PA system.
Some don't even try to sell their own school. They spend all their face time attacking the other schools on a player's short list. Some apply cultural pressure while others put religious pressure on players. Some just get lucky by being in the right place at the right time.
Some show up and tell you the honest truth from day one; tell you what they think about you; tell you where you would fit in if you work hard and perform on the field; and then tell you every detail about a stringent code of conduct and behavior their football team has that no other football team in America has.
Indeed, these 17-18 year olds recruits that are wined and dined in the college football recruiting game are about as fickle as you can find anywhere.
Many of them think they should be able to name their school. Many play the recruiting game just to feed their egos. Many have parents that are way too involved in their decisions. Many have coaches with selfish motives in steering them to one school or another. Many think they are much better than they really are. Some allow their girlfriends' leanings decide for them.
Recruiting, like relationships, is a game of emotion. Every one wants to be loved. Some are more needy than others. Some want to have their hand held 24-7. Some want you to know what they are thinking 24-7. Some want you to give them their "personal space." Some believe in love at first sight. Some love you for your money. Some people are so filled with love that they love everyone who smiles at them. Some trust no one and some trust everyone.
There are a thousand tangibles in recruiting. Many of them cannot be controlled or manipulated by recruiting coaches or fans.
Recruiting is a game of juggling 10 balls coupled with smoke and mirrors. You are out recruiting many times more kids than you have scholarships for at any given time. You are wasting your time and resources if you tell kids they aren't a priority. Telling a potential player that two or three others that play his position are higher on your recruiting list is like inviting to drive the kid to Eugene, Boise, or Los Angeles for his next recruiting visit.
Recruiting is not unlike gambling. Some just have more money to put out there and therefore are going to have the potential to win more in the gambling by having more opportunities.
Recruiting is exciting for many fans to watch from the sidelines – especially when your team has back to back losing seasons.
Recruiting excites me a lot, but I am bet the recruiting games would eat most of us alive in one very short year. Ask any big time college coach what their favorite part of college football is? You will probably get mixed results, but you'd be surprised how many would put recruiting at the bottom of their list.
Take it from someone who travels all over the U.S. in very quick time frames. It quickly becomes physically and mentally exhausting and I don't even have to deal with fickle 17-18 year olds and their families along the way.
I believe Gary Crowton and his aggressive recruiting staff have the perfect even-keeled personality and temperament to sell BYU football as the great product we have all invested in.
Crowton's recruiting classes attest to that. Most of the recruiting process is completely out of our hands as fans. It's hard watching from the sidelines, but we can't miss any opportunities to make a positive impression on recruitable athletes. More importantly, we need to give Crowton every tool he can use. Our new indoor facility has added a huge advantage he is using wisely. We also need to provide Crowton with the means and resources to step up to the table and "gamble" with the big boys.
Through it all we will all continue to allow these pimply-faced 17-18 year old kids buckle us in to their emotional roller coaster rides.
I swore that Haloti Ngata was the last kid that would ever get me worked up with recruiting sagas. Yeah, right. Come back home to Provo Ben Olson when you're done saving souls!
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