I recently received a very interesting email regarding the football recruiting process. The parent had a question about a scenario that could easily happen to any college program. The situation is that the school is only wanting to bring in one tight end during this recruiting class. This certain school feels that they are recruiting three tight ends with similar abilities so they decide to offer all three. With only one taken in this recruiting class, the focus is on landing one as soon as possible and pulling the scholarships from the remaining two.
But what happens if some reason this school ends up sending their current tight end to an NFL team early in the draft? The program becomes known as Tight End U and the three athletes with offers become very serious at the school. They all take visits to the program for a Junior Day and each one decides that they want to end the recruiting process by committing to Tight End U. What does the school do then?
Obviously this is a perfect storm situation that rarely, if ever happens. What may happen more often is that a school has multiple offers out for one scholarship spot and two athletes want to commit (the chances of all three wanting to commit on the same day are extremely small but two could realistically happen). Here are a few things that may happen if the perfect football recruiting storm were to happen to these coaches.
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Reevaluate the numbers and try to take more than one
This would be rare but if the school is thrilled with both prospects, they may take a look at the recruiting class numbers and try to accept commitments from both. But if it is this early in the recruiting process, chances are small that they would change their overall recruiting plan at this time. Maybe one of the tight ends could move to defensive end but that may be far fetched.
Take the first commitment
For a situation like this, if the recruits really are even (and the coaches believe that are), it really comes down to first come, first serve. Whichever recruit steps up to the plate and calls the coaches telling them that he wants to go their school, then it is his scholarship. If the second or third recruit calls five minutes later, then they are out of luck. Again, the key is that the recruits are that even in the recruiting process that the coaches would be thrilled with whoever they could get.
If they have offered three prospects but consider them to be options A, B, and C, this is where things get interesting. If C is on the line trying to commit but the coaches feel that A may want to end the recruiting process soon with a commitment to them, they will do all that they can to stall option C. I hate to admit it but I know for a fact that this happens. The coaches at the school may not return calls, may talk to the prospects about delaying a decision, and basically doing all that they can to make sure that this recruit does not commit. The reason that they don’t want this to happen because it could affect option A and it may also end up in public backlash because they pulled the scholarship offer from option C.
There are a number of different reasons above talent that they may end up stalling. The first is grades. If there are questions academically, the school may not be so keen on accepting a commitment from that player (unless of course they are basically their #1 recruit and worth the risk). If the recruit is borderline at their level anyways, the coaches will do what they can to make sure the commitment does not become public.
Is it right that the college coaches do this? Probably not, but as I have said many times before, the athletic recruiting process is a game. There are so many things that coaches do during the process that make it tough. That is why it is best to have backup options and not put all your eggs into one basket.