Recruiting Refresher

Division I schools are restricted from announcing any new college football recruits until Letter of Intent signing day, February 6, 2003. Although fully qualified JC players may sign in December, it has been the University of Oregon's policy in the past to wait and acknowledge those players with the prep players announced in February. I believe that will also be Oregon's tack this year.

Oregon does not release the names of verbal commitments. And, in fact, is precluded by NCAA recruiting rules from discussing any recruit by name outside of the athletic department prior to having received the player's signed letter of intent on signing day. It is acceptable for pertinent athletic department personnel to relate in general terms to those who ask how recruiting is going prior to letter of intent signing day. This may include mentioning how many verbal commitments they have received. What the player positions are. Which states or cities the players are from. Whether they have received commitments from players they wanted the most, etc. However, it has been my experience that Oregon has never given this information out proactively or in any detail. In fact, among most recruiting circles, Oregon is considered to be one of the most secretive schools in the nation concerning recruiting.

How a "verbal" gains public awareness is not through the school but usually through the media. In some cases, a local paper may break the news, reporting on the college plans of the all-district, city, state, whatever, star. In most cases, the news is broken by any one of a number of recruiting publications/services such as PrepStar, SuperPrep, Student Sports among others who periodically call prospects to ascertain which colleges they are visiting, where they are leaning, and who did they give a verbal commitment to. Increasingly, more and more Internet recruiting services are coming into being. These entities are often small garage-shop sites dedicated to only following the recruiting efforts of a single school. The integrity of these renegade recruiting reports should be considered suspect. And, in fact, have reportedly caused actual communication and procedural problems under certain circumstances for players, parents and schools alike. As a rule, at eDuck, we do not contact recruits. We get our recruiting information from other news sources. Under certain circumstances, such as in preparation of a news story at the Nike Football Camp last summer or a similar type event, some contact with recruits may occur. Also, once a news story has been published by a reputable media outlet confirming a verbal commitment by a player, we may elect to contract an independent news reporter to contact the player for a profile story.

I believe it is only a matter of time before the NCAA amends its rules governing Internet services and their practice of contacting recruits. I suspect the intent will be to prohibit individuals from hanging out their shingle (Internet URL) with the sole intent to enable them to gather recruiting information and contact recruits for the purpose of following a single school.

A verbal commitment is a non-binding agreement between a player and his family and a college coach. It is not overly unusual for a recruit to renege on a verbal agreement or give multiple verbal agreements to more than one school. In rare circumstances, I have witnessed schools reneging on their agreement to hold a scholarship for a player who had earlier given a verbal commitment to the school. To my knowledge this has never happened at Oregon.

To date the Ducks have received four reported verbal commitments (Johnny DuRocher, (Bethel HS) Spanaway, Washington, Jordan Carey, (Capital HS) Olympia, Washington, Dante Rosario, (Dayton HS) Dayton, Oregon, A.J. Tuitele, (Banning HS) Banning, California.) Beginning in October official visits and in-home coach visits really heat up prior to the holiday blackout period. This activity should result in a number of new commitments. The question is how long will it take before a media source is able to confirm the commitments. Only the most highly recruited players hold a news conference or place calls to the media after making a decision of where they will sign. It has not been unusual for Oregon to receive a verbal commitment weeks and even months in advance before the media happens to stumble on the information.

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