I hear through the grapevine at a lot of places, and several coaches in the SEC have repeatedly said that un-recruiting a player is now as much of the recruiting process as recruiting the prospects in the first place.
Except it doesn't seem that the coaches have gotten that part down yet – not at all.
Case in point: Prospects in the State of Georgia, 2013. Maybe there was something in the water with that class. That group just finished up their freshman year, and it has been quite a roller coaster for a slew highly-ranked players from the Peach State.
#4 Alvin Kamara – Signed with Alabama. Has transferred to Hutchinson Community College in Kansas after being suspended twice in 2013 and not making the trip with the Tide for their loss in the Sugar Bowl.
#7 Tyren Jones – Signed with Alabama. Had jaw broken in two places by a high school teammate a few days before Signing Day in a locker room fight, according to Craig Sager.
#8 Tray Matthews – Signed with Georgia. Was arrested for theft by deception the day before spring practice started at Georgia this March.
More than half of the top players in Georgia from the class of 2013 have had major life issues happen during their recruiting or the first year of college – anything from being arrested to suspensions to being sued for $2 million… two million dollars.
That's not counting former Troup linebacker Reuben Foster who moved from LaGrange to Auburn, Ala before his senior season. Then committed to Alabama, then Auburn (got an Auburn tattoo on his forearm) and then flipped back to the Tide two nights before Signing Day.
This, if you are wondering, is the new normal. This is the world we live in – and its time to get used to it.
Part of recruiting now involves un-recruiting. If we (the media, but more importantly the coaching staffs at each school) are going to tell each of these prospects how great they are every single day; and give them attention constantly; and wastefully spend money on stamps and the like to make sure our program sends 477 letters to a kid because sending 476 isn't enough; and give them everything they could possibly want (inside of the rules and outside of the rules) – can it really be a surprise that they think they can do anything they want?
No. I'm not sure how many times I have to write this, but I get the feeling I am going to write this a lot: This is our fault. I blame us.
The media is doing its job, but this is our fault – even though we don't have to fix it. The coaches are going their jobs, but there is their fault, too – and they are the ones who have to fix it… good luck boys.
On top of all of that we now have the horrible toxin that is Twitter – fueling both ego and vitriol at the same time. Fans or haters can now reinforce how great the prospects think they are at the push of a button.
If a rival fan tells you that you suck – its only a matter of time before the rest of your supporters shout that person down and have your back… giving you a false sense of either entitlement or greatness – or perhaps both rolled up into one.
The reality is that millennials are all that is being recruited any more – they are used to this. They didn't grow up with computers. They grew up with cell phones, all of which are at the ready to blast out any message they so choose… not that what they are saying is important (or even legible at times)… to their audience of thousands.
So schools had better get used to this. College students don't just expect an education anymore – they now need "The College Experience", and that's just the students.
What about the student-athletes… er athlete-students?