Football fanatics think they know everything abut the game. But there is a lot they don't know about recruiting.
When you are a fan-atic, you don't think straight. Everything revolves around your favorite program. It can do no wrong. There is no room for objectivity. You are a cheerleader. If the school is being investigated, you blame it on the investigators or snitches. You watch everything through rose-colored glasses or the school colors.
Fan-atics don't forgive or understand that everyone is human. A good example was the basketball war between Illinois and Indiana over the recruiting of Eric Gordon. Hatred boiled over. Hey, folks, it's a game, not the Middle East conflict.
It is shocking to me, even after 31 years in this business. I understand that only 1 percent of the public has turned recruiting into a personal vendetta or the Hatfields vs. the McCoys...death threats, name-calling, profanity-laced e-mails, "fire the coach" Websites, and that's before it starts to get ugly.
They are the ones who hang out on their computers all day, eating Cheetos and drinking beer. They are the anonymous ones, the really scary ones.
Fortunately, most football fans take the game and recruiting as it is...sports, fun, homecoming, Dad's Day, not the end of the world.
Unfortunately, the unrealistic 1 percent always think their school should get a kid because it has so much to offer. They fail to understand (or admit to themselves) that other schools have great salesmen and facilities and also have a lot to offer, maybe even more than your school.
One football recruiter once told me that he never lost a prospect, that if he didn't sign the recruit, it was because (1) he didn't want the kid in the first place or (2) the other school cheated. Most fan-atics have the same philosophy.
Evaluating isn't that difficult. It isn't brain surgery or nuclear physics. A coach must fit a model for each position. It includes a size description, quick feet and speed. Then you have to evaluate how a prospect plays the game. If he is a Division I candidate, he must stand out. He must have Division I potential. He must stand out against high school competition. All All-Staters need not apply.
The 1 percent doesn't accept any of this logic. It's a shame because they tend to ruin the fun for many of us who want to enjoy the game and recruiting for what it is, football's second season.