A look at national recruiting

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The list of players who have reneged on early commitments is getting longer and longer and the reasons that some offer to explain their change of mind get sillier and sillier.

For example, wide receiver Shaquelle Evans of Inglewood, Calif., committed to USC, then described himself as a "soft verbal," visited Notre Dame, de-committed from USC, then said he was "up in the air" over Notre Dame and USC but may look at UCLA, California and Oregon.

It is typical of what is going on in the recruiting process. What is Evans thinking? He may think USC has too many wide receivers on its roster but Notre Dame has the best freshman wide receiver in the country in Michael Floyd. So Evans may not choose any school.

Kids are deciding too soon. I've said it before and I'll say it again. They simply aren't educated in the recruiting process and they aren't getting very good advice.

By February, there will be a run on the top 200 players. At least 40 to 50 will de-commit because they made decisions too soon or they have no sense of integrity at a young age and will go back on their word at the snap of a finger. No one is telling them to stick to their word.

Of course, some players have the right to renege on their early commitments because they have been lied to by the college coach. Sometimes kids have a justifiable reason for de-committing.

Michigan has lost three of its top prospects. Quarterback Kevin Newsome of Chesapeake, Va., the No. 37 player in the nation, is looking at Penn State and Virginia Tech. Defensive tackle William Campbell of Detroit, the No. 42 player in the nation, is considering Miami, USC and LSU. And Bryce McNeal, a wide receiver from Minneapolis, Minn., who is a top 200 prospect, de-committed after witnessing Michigan's loss to Toledo. He is considering Minnesota, Penn State and Iowa.

Quarterback Tajh Boyd of Hampton, Va., de-committed from West Virginia because he said he didn't like the way the offense was playing. He said he is considering Virginia Tech and Penn State and maybe Michigan.

Tennessee lost two of its top recruits, one to Notre Dame and the other to Stanford.

Willie Farrell, a linebacker from Tallahassee, Fla., is expected to de-commit from LSU. Look for Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Alabama to recruit him.

Clemson lost its two top recruits even before coach Tommy Bowden was fired. They are Craig Loston of Houston, Texas., the No. 5 player in the nation and the top-rated free safety, and Devonte Holloman of Charlotte, N.C., the second-rated safety in the country.

But recruiting goes on.

Defensive end Devon Kennard of Chandler, Ariz., the nation's No. 4 prospect and the top-rated defensive player, tore up his knee and will miss the remainder of the season. The 6-3, 245-pound pass rusher is expected to commit to USC or Arizona State.

Ronnie Wingo of St. Louis, a 6-2, 212-pound running back/linebacker and one of the two best players in Missouri, has narrowed his choice to Illinois, Missouri or Alabama. He is the No. 92 player in the nation.

Rashede Hageman of Minneapolis, Minn., the No. 50 player in the country and the best tight end of all with his 6-6, 252-pound stature, likely will choose Ohio State, Wisconsin or Minnesota. He visited each school in the last few weeks.

Todd Thomas, a wide receiver/defensive back from Beaver Falls, Pa., a 6-3, 204-pounder who is the No. 64 prospect in the nation, has committed to Pittsburgh. He chose Pitt over Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. He is a great athlete, big and physical. He was recruited to play wide receiver in college but I think he is better at defensive back.

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I also believe many athletes are committing too early. Great article and insight. I'll probably link to this in our high school sports and recruiting weekly digest, which is published every Friday on our blog.

Tom's point about the lack of guidance is extremely insightful. These athletes are making a decision that impact the rest of their lives and it seems are getting poor advice.

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This page contains a single entry by Second Season published on October 19, 2008 5:27 PM.

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