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Second Season: September 2009 Archives

Fan-atics don't know the game

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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.

What's wrong at Notre Dame?

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Notre Dame is 2-1 and even though coach Charlie Weis has recruited what every recruiting service has declared are several top 10 classes in a row, most of the blue-chip prospects--with the exception of Jimmy Clausen and Michael Floyd--haven't distinguished themselves or demonstrated much development in the Irish system.

How badly has all of this affected Weis' program?

Up to now, not much. His recruiting class for 2010 is rated among the top 10 to 15 in the nation by every recruiting service. It includes Christian Lombard of Fremd, one of the nation's leading offensive linemen, and quarterback Tommy Rees of Lake Forest.

But there are concerns. While the offense has played well, the defense is hurting.

The Top-Rated Recruiting Classes

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The award for the No. 1 recruiting class in college football for 2010 won't be presented until after the February signing date, of course, but the race for the top spot is well underway and it is apparent that the rich are getting richer and will continue to do so until someone proves that it can do better.

My top 11 proves that the SEC continues to dominate football recruiting. The SEC has five of the top nine spots. The leaders (in order) are Texas, USC, Penn State, Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU, Tennessee, Georgia, Notre Dame and Michigan.

The sleepers are California, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Brigham Young. Oklahoma State could be the only surprise team that could break into the top 10. In the Big 10, it's Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State. So what's new?

Player of the Year? Miles Osei

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Miles Osei, Prospect's versatile quarterback, is my choice as the front-runner for Player of the Year recognition in the Chicago area.

This is the Year of the Quarterback in Illinois. Wheaton North's Taylor Graham is committed to Ohio State. Downers Grove South's Chandler Whitmer is going to Illinois. Lake Forest's Tommy Rees is bound for Notre Dame. And don't forget John Whitelaw, Brandon Pechloff, Tyler Warden, Tyler Benz, Jim Garoppolo, DaRon Brown and Mike Perish.

But I've seen Osei in action and I think he has an edge at the moment. The 6-2, 194-pounder is more effective and more productive than any other others. He is a high school version of Michigan freshman sensation Tate Forcier.

Prater fumbled the ball

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I was on the field at the Proviso West/Proviso East game last Saturday and Kyle Prater was very impressive. He definitely is one of the leading wide receivers in the nation. I feel very comfortable in rating him as the No. 35 player.

But I think he made a big mistake when he recently made an oral commitment to USC. He never should have committed in the first place. He is the kind of kid who, even if he commits, will keep looking around because he likes the attention.

He backed off shortly after making his announcement, claiming it was a "soft verbal" and he wanted to take more official visits. He shouldn't have done it at all. Kids shouldn't back off from a commitment unless the coach is fired and they shouldn't make a commitment unless they are 100 percent sold on a school academically and athletically.

Patience, patience, patience

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I understand Illini Nation is concerned over what some tribal members perceive as coach Ron Zook's inability to attract blue-chip recruits. Even before Proviso West's Kyle Prater chose USC over Illinois and the Illini were crunched by Missouri, they were complaining about the lack of commitments.

Here are some of the numbers they are concerned about:

Illinois has nine commitments, including three 4-star players. That is the lowest figure in the Big 10. Indiana has 22 commitments, Michigan 18, Penn State 15, Wisconsin 13, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State 12 each.

Nationally, Oklahoma has 23 commitments, LSU 22, Alabama 21, Virginia Tech and Texas 19 each, Georgia 18, Tennessee 16, Florida 15 and USC and Notre Dame 14 each.

Let's set the record straight

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The other day, I was going to scout a football game at the request of a father who wanted me to come and watch his son.

I called the high school in advance to request a field pass so I also could observe several sophomores, juniors and seniors from both of the participating schools. I was surprised when I was informed that the head coach doesn't allow "recruiting people" on the field.

It was the first time a high school coach has ever prohibited me from going on the field to scout players. And I've been to hundreds of games over the last 31 years.

But the most bizarre incident happened at the Class 7A championship game in Champaign in 2004.

20 hours aren't enough

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A reader, a Michigan fan, e-mailed to inquire about my opinion regarding the latest college football controversy, the brouhaha and investigation of Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez. Is he exceeding NCAA limitations on practice time? Is he demanding more than the allowable 20 hours per week from his players? Is he the victim of yellow journalism?

First of all, it isn't yellow journalism. The Detroit sportswriter wrote what kids told him. These kids are disenchanted. They probably are Lloyd Carr recruits. One player who was mentioned, Tony Clemmons, was recruited by Carr. Now he is at Colorado and bad-mouthing Rodriguez.

Rodriguez' recruits bought into his program. The Carr recruits didn't. There always is disenchantment when there is a change at the top of the program. This whole incident wouldn't have surfaced if all of the players were recruited by Rodriguez.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Second Season in September 2009.

Second Season: August 2009 is the previous archive.

Second Season: October 2009 is the next archive.

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