It's all about the money.
That's the problem with recruiting Web sites on the Internet. But before we go for the jugular, let's clarify something about the Internet. It has changed the face of recruiting. It provides instant information to thousands of readers, mostly college football fans and alumni who want to know who's going where and who's recruiting whom.
It's a cottage industry that I've been a part of since the 1970s. But 30 years ago, I had to travel around the country to find prospects. Now I know who they are before I even pack my bags and leave on a trip. I still believe, however, that a video doesn't provide all the answers. I still have to meet the prospect while evaluating him.
But many people don't understand that recruiting services make money by persuading kids, good and bad, to sign up for their premium site, to help them get recruited. In exchange for a paid subscription, they display the prospect's video on the Web site.
If you don't pay for the subscription, you won't get favorable publicity. And unless you are a knockout player, a blue-chipper who can't be ignored, they won't write about you. All of them rank players based on whether or not they show up at their combines.
A good example is Michael Floyd of St. Paul, Minn., Notre Dame's outstanding freshman wide receiver. Last year, I ranked Floyd as the No. 15 player in the nation. Most services didn't even rate him. He didn't go to a lot of combines and wasn't rated very high until the end of the season--when his talent couldn't be ignored.
I try to take money out of the equation. I don't charge kids for my magazine. I give them away to kids for free. My subscribers are college coaches and adults, not kids.
The top 200-250 players aren't involved in this caper. Everybody knows who they are. It's the borderline or below-borderline players who are taken advantage of, the kids who hope they will be recruited and think they have a shot at Division I.
The fact is you are either good or you aren't. Colleges don't recruit according to what they read on Web sites or in newspapers. They do their own research, their own evaluating.
A teenager should subscribe to follow recruiting but not with he idea that he will be recruited because of it.