The recruiting process is a once in a lifetime opportunity for recruits all across the nation. Some handle the process with respect and say very little throughout. Others enjoy every facet of the process, often times creating drama with their decision. Drama is naturally set into a recruit's decision. Normally it is the hardest decision recruits make at that stage in their lives, thus indecision and confusion are apart of the recruiting process.
While it is not 100%, there is a trend developing with those that turn their recruitment into an up and down roller coaster ride. Recent history shows that the recruits who are all over the map have a very good chance of not meeting expectations once they get into college. There are players out there that have found success after having a crazy recruitment: Patrick Peterson at LSU and Terrelle Pryor at Ohio State are 2 of the most recent that are doing well in college.
Looking back the trend started to develop about the middle of this decade when recruiting coverage really became popular. Antonio Clay in 2005 may have the craziest recruitment of anyone ever. At one point in his recruitment Clay committed to Oklahoma, Florida State and Miami. The month before signing day he switched from the Seminoles to the Sooners before signing with Clemson on Signing Day. Clay ended up leaving Clemson after his sophomore year.
From Ryan Perrilloux, Fred Rouse, and Willie Williams in 2005 the trend started to pick up steam then. 2006 saw guys like Brandon Warren, Damon McDaniel, Mitch Mustain and Mike Morgan not reach their potential once they got on campus.
2008 saw some of the country's elite level recruits already not pan out after having circus recruitments:
Darrell Scott: Scott was thought to be the best running back in 2008's class. He ultimately signed with Colorado, but since has left that program.
Arthur Brown: Brown was thought to be the nation's top overall recruit in 2008. After spending last year buried on the depth chart at Miami Brown has left the program. Brown's recruitment was one with several storylines and twists.
Boubacar Cissoko: Cissoko was the 3rd-rated corner in the 2008 class. After an early commitment to Michigan Cissoko opened things back up before re-committing to Michigan before signing day. Cissoko was kicked off of the team for missed practices, classes and study halls.
Keith Wells: Wells committed to FSU early but he ended up decommitting. After that Tennessee, Notre Dame and Ohio State battled for his recruitment. At one time each program thought they were going to land Wells. He left the Buckeye program over a month ago.
It was early in the careers of those from the 2008 class, but it seems as though that wild recruitments are turning into early college career issues.
2009's class has been on campus for a year, yet there already is a handful of players that have seen their collegiate careers get off to a shaky start: Bryce Brown has left Tennessee after a disappointing freshman season; Gary Brown has already left Florida; Pat Patterson has already been dismissed from Mississippi; Tyrik Rollison has left Auburn; and the story of Nu'kese Richardson is widely known.
Who really knows why there is a trend developing here? Each player is different so each case has different reasons why the player hasn't materialized in college. Nonetheless there are some similar characteristics the group shows: from drive, lack of focus, need for the attention, off-field character, and simply being overrated during the recruiting process.
As the attention given to these recruits and flair for the dramatic increases, so will the desire to string out the process. In 2011 we've already seen some crazy recruitments. From multiple commitments to off-the-field concerns one has to wonder if they'll share the same fate as their predecessors.
This is a trend to keep an eye on as it will continue to affect programs from all over the country.