Over the years, for reasons my critics have never been able to fully explain to my satisfaction, I have become embroiled in at least four so-called controversies that continue to surface whenever someone disagrees with any of my evaluations.
They are my alleged affiliation with Notre Dame, my long-ago relationships with high school football stars Lorenzo Booker and Myron Rolle and my role in the selections for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
All of these issues were thoroughly addressed in my 2007 book, "Football's Second Season: Scouting High School Game Breakers." But apparently some people didn't read it or they still prefer to believe their own version.
In another attempt to clear the air--even though I know I will never change the minds of some detractors--I will try to set the record straight by dealing with each subject in each of my next four blogs. These are the facts as I know them. Again, I would also suggest that you read my book for a more detailed account of the issues.
I like Notre Dame. But I like a lot of schools. Notre Dame has a lot of fans who like them but more fans who hate them. I live in a Chicago suburb. Notre Dame is less than two hours away. It is the closest big-name school. And they recruit well every year. So I always take an interest in them.
For years, between the coaching eras of Lou Holtz and Charlie Weis, Notre Damers said I was anti-Notre Dame. Critics said I was a Nebraska fan because I was friendly with then coach Bill Callahan (a Chicago native) and they said I was a Michigan fan because I was friendly with coach Lloyd Carr.
Notre Dame and Michigan people subscribe to my service more than any other school. And I have praised Notre Dame because of its high graduation rates, tradition and its successful recruiting, no matter who was coaching, even when Bob Davies threw me out of Notre Dame Stadium during a spring game.
But no one has been a bigger critic of Notre Dame recruiting in the last 30 years than me. And more Notre Dame fans are critical of my work than any other school in the country. Yes, I have rated their recruiting classes highly. But check it out. So has every other recruiting service.
I don't know how these so-called allegiances get started. I'm supposed to be aligned with Notre Dame. Some people even charge that I receive payoffs from them in return for favorable publicity. Not true. If you can prove it, be my guest. What about other analysts? Allen Wallace is a USC fan who attends nearly every USC practice. Bobby Burton is a Texas fan. Phil Gross favors Penn State. Jeremy Crabtree favors Oklahoma and Mike Farrell cheers for Boston College.
In this business, it is easy to be associated with one school or another because the fact is I deal with dozens of Division I schools every year. I rate the top recruiting classes so I'm accused of being too close to some schools and alien to others. It's a no-win situation that I long ago came to realize is the price of doing what I do. I only wish some people would do a better job of understanding it.
For example, I have received a few e-mails recently complaining about my criticism of a particular player. Why would I say negative things about a 17-year-old? Because that's what I have been doing for the last 31 years, evaluating high school players with Division I potential, pointing out what they do well and what they don't do well, the kinds of things that college coaches look for, the kinds of things that NFL scouts look for. That's the difference between a 5-star player and a 4-star player and a 3-star player and a 2-star player and a kid who isn't good enough to play in Division I. That's what the business is all about.
If you don't now what I do and how I do it and you'd like to know, please read my book, "Football's Second Season: Scouting High School Game Breakers," an autobiography that contains chapters about my philosophy, steroids, early commitments, Lorenzo Booker, Myron Rolle and everything you need to know about evaluating and recruiting high school football players.
It is all very educational and provides answers to all of the questions you have been asking for years, answers to questions I haven't seen addressed anywhere else. Everything is out in the open. I don't use pseudonyms.