How Young is Too Young?

Dean Legge asks at what point, if any, is too young to start recruiting - and how are we at this point?

ATHENS - How early is too early? That’s a question that’s been popping up of late in the recruiting world.

There was a time in college football recruiting when most prospects didn’t get their first major offer until their senior season in high school. Then it became the summer before their senior season. Then the spring. Now, at minimum, the vast majority of players who sign at places like Georgia get offered as juniors in high school.

There was a case this week where, as reported by Scout National Recruiting Analyst Chad Simmons, that Georgia has offered a second player who has never played high school football before - 2019 Walton ATH Dominick Blaylock.

Is it wrong to offer players that early? How does Georgia (or anyone else for that matter) know about Blaylock?

I really am not sure, but my best guess is that they saw him at a camp of some sort, and it was pretty obvious to offer him at that point.

Some perspective: In 2007, Mike Bobo was about to enter his first full season as the offensive coordinator at Georgia. His starting quarterback was going to be a No. 1 overall NFL Pick that fall. He was still some time away from signing arguably the best signal caller in Georgia history in Aaron Murray.

But recruiting never ends - actually, that should read: recruiting can start whenever, and at any time and never ends.

So when a young blonde 7th grader from Kingsland showed up for camp that summer Mike Bobo certainly wasn’t thinking about who his starter would be in the fall of 2015. But he was about to see Brice Ramsey throw for the first time.

That day Bobo knew Ramsey had something he wanted. The two kept up with one another from that point forward, and Bobo was the No. 1 reason Ramsey plays in Silver Britches today.

So if Bobo was correct to keep tabs and eventually offer Ramsey (the Camden County QB was offered four years later as a sophomore who had never started a varsity game), is it really wrong or out of the ordinary that Georgia and the rest of the recruiting world does that with Blaylock and his peers?

Difficult to wrap our heads around? Sure. Out of the ordinary? Not really. Wrong? Actually, I don’t think its wrong as much as it just is.

We’ve entered a new phase of recruiting where children’s sports are more popular and competitive as ever. Traveling teams exist for children under the age of ten. Everyone is an expert and the hype machine is on steroids (need proof - look at the resources the AJC is suddenly pouring into recruiting… thinking that it is the cash cow that will save that paper’s future). Crazy headlines and Twitter pronouncements have these teenagers as the next Joe Montana or Walter Peyton.

Everything has accelerated - hype, maturation of teens… everything. So it can’t be a surprise to see eight graders being offered a college scholarship. After all - too early doesn’t exist any more.

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