This is the time of year where recruits decide which college they will attend. This is also the time of year where fans overreact when these kids choose other schools.
Ah, it is the annual ritual of creative commitment announcements and daily de-commitments. With just the utterance of one school’s name, a single recruit can simultaneously cause rejoicing and heartache to a diverse group of grown adults.
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However, the ugly part of this time of year are the overly invested fans that seem to take these announcements personally. It is easy to criticize these fans for their failings, but maybe they just don’t know how to react to these 18-year-olds letting them down.
So, we are here to answer the burning question: Help! This prized recruit didn’t select my school, what should I do? Well never fear, OleHottyToddy.com is here to walk you through signing season.
But He’s From the ‘Sip
After Cam Akers, a kid from Clinton, MS decided to forgo coming to Ole Miss and committed to Florida State, many fans began to question his loyalty. How could a kid from this state that he claims to “rep’ for” go to an out-of-state school?
However, to question a Mississippi kid’s loyalty because he chose to play elsewhere is a tad hypocritical. Ole Miss has benefited greatly from kids deciding to go to an out-of-state school. Our recent success came because of kids coming from other states.
Laquon Treadwell (Crete, IL); Robert Nkemdiche (Loganville, GA); Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, FL); Chad Kelly (Buffalo, NY); Bo Wallace (Pulaski, TN); and Evan Engram (Powder Spring, GA) all were from elsewhere. Many were wanted by their home state schools.
Let the kid go where he wants without feeling the burden of the entire State of Mississippi on his shoulder. Recruits go where they feel comfortable. They go where their specific needs are met. Sometimes their needs are met in other states.
I’ve Followed Him Since 9th Grade
High school athletics is the only place where adults can follow minors on multiple social media platforms and show up at their games without anyone calling the authorities. We call them recruiting experts. Although for some reason, anyone with access to a computer and Wi-Fi can call themselves a recruiting expert.
They watch these kids from 9th grade until their senior year. They feel vested in the kid’s career simply because they have seen them grow up. However here is the simple fact, the recruit does not owe you anything.
Just because you feel you know the kid inside and out doesn’t mean he needs to make YOUR dreams come true. You may live vicariously through them. They may remind you of your playing days. But they don’t owe it to you to make their decision based on your feelings.
Don’t get so attached to these kids. Let them enjoy playing their games without feeling the pressure of an entire fan base on their shoulders.
How Dare He Flip or De-commit?
It is clear that you love your school. We know you bleed your school colors. So the thought that someone could spurn your school is ludicrous to you. You celebrate and send out congratulatory tweets to each verbal commit. Then something happens. Just weeks before signing day, he de-commits from your school. Or heaven forbid, on signing day he chooses a different cap from the table.
This could leave you confused and angry. You may even start questioning whether these millennial kids know what the word “commitment” mean. Some even begin belittling the recruit by saying that he really wasn’t that good anyway.
Calm down. Flips and de-commitments come along with the recruiting cycle. As a matter of fact, all schools have benefited from a recruit who flipped from one school in order to join their school. In fact, Ole Miss fans have begun to regularly expect a recruit to flip to the Rebels.
Kids change their mind for many reasons. Maybe a coach they liked left the school. Or maybe they wanted to play together with a friend somewhere else. Or perhaps they simply like another school just a little more. It comes with the territory. There is no need to be upset. Especially since we have benefited greatly by a recruit’s lack of decision-making.
I’m Going to Tweet Them How I Feel
Step away from the keyboard. The prized recruit chose another institution of higher learning. I know pain is raw and it hurts like the dickens. However, passive aggressive subtweets about the recruit is not the way to go. More importantly, direct tweets to the person’s Twitter handle is absolutely crazy. In fact, it makes you look stupid.
When I say this next statement, I know it may hurt your feeling, but here goes…RECRUITS DON’T CARE ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL. Their loyalty is not to you or your school. The recruit is only concerned about their family and their future. Plus, what you think is good for their future may not be what their family thinks.
When you tweet bad things to the recruit he begins to believe he made the right decision because you represent the “crazy fan”. Your mentioning that all schools have “crazy fans” will do very little on swaying him to change his mind. It’s already a little creepy that your care so much about their decision. Don’t be the crazy guy that wishes him injuries just because your coaches could close the deal.
You shouldn’t tweet recruits anyway. However, wishing them injury or failure is just plain childish. Grow up. What if your child decides to go to Harvard instead of Ole Miss? Should everyone tweet them how much of a failure they are? Should we wish they break their leg? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Then don’t do it to kids that play football.
What Should I Do Then?
This is simple. You can do either one of two things.
You can just wish them well. After they sign their letter of intent you can tell them that you hope for the best. It’s ok to be nice. Life isn’t just football for these guys. They are growing into adulthood and therefore should be encouraged.
Or you can simply do nothing. Don’t reply. Don’t tweet. You don’t even have to keep following them on Twitter. If their decision to choose another team makes you upset, give them the silent treatment.
Consequently, their rejection has allowed other kids who want to be a part of the program a chance to contribute. So let’s celebrate who we have and move on from those we do not.