A little recruiting
There is very little college football or basketball recruiting information delivered in this space. That has nothing to do with the importance of recruiting in college athletics. The formula is fairly simple, the better players you have, the easier it will be to win. That is a theory that has numerous exceptions, sleepers will come from anywhere and five star recruits turn out to be busts regularly, but recruiting the best players is what coaches set out to do.
West Virginia University has an impressive list of high school seniors who have verbally pledged to sign a binding letter of intent with the Mountaineers on February 3. So impressive is the list of players that some of those who follow recruiting religiously have said the 2010 class of football recruits could be in the Top 10 nationally if a couple things fall into place for the Mountaineers.
As the recruiting season winds down things seem to be slipping a bit on the WVU front. A verbal commitment from a high school senior isn’t worth much. Mere words without any binding properties. With two weeks left until the binding letter gets signed the Mountaineers suffered some fallout over the weekend. The good news is there is still time to make repairs.
It wasn’t reported here, but most readers probably know that Doc Holliday left the WVU coaching staff in December to become the head coach at Marshall. This is significant, because Holliday was the recruiting coordinator. He was also the lead recruiter in talent rich south Florida. He is also a former Mountaineer player and alumnus.
See a potential problem developing here?
There is one more twist. Former West Virginia quarterback JuJuan Seider is a native of the Miami area and came on to the WVU staff as a graduate assistant last year. Seider was said to be very valuable in recruiting south Florida. Opinions vary, but many saw Seider as a better recruiter than Holliday. The problem is Holliday offered Seider a job as a position coach, so Seider is now in Huntington.
Mountaineer fans were hopeful that West Virginia Coach Bill Stewart would keep Seider on the staff for his recruiting ability. It is not clear if Seider was offered a position, but it was clear that he wasn’t going to be promoted all the way to a position coach. Even though WVU could have offered Seider an administrative position within the football program which would have paid more than his Marshall job, WVU could not give him the coaching position Seider wants at this time.
The current list of recruits includes a couple of Florida players who committed, because of Seider or Holliday. The thought on Fred Pickett and Travis Bell, when the coaches went to Huntington, was that they may waiver, but their offer sheets were such that there would be no way they would be attracted to Marshall. Why would they go to a CUSA school when they have their pick of BCS schools.
If reports are true, the pair did just that over the weekend on a recruiting trip to Huntington. West Virginia fans are not very happy with Holiday right now for going after the kids he recruited for WVU. Some will say all is fair in recruiting. He was the one who recruited them after all. Spin that how you want, but he recruited them with WVU’s resources and that is why poaching recruits like this is considered bad form.
West Virginia’s top quarterback prospect, Barry Brunetti, took a visit to Mississippi State over the weekend and is said to now be seriously considering that school. Brunetti has been solid on the Mountaineers for a long time. Even trying to recruit other players for WVU. Now it looks like a coin flip.
Two weeks ago at the U.S. Army high school all star game safety Latwan Anderson put on a hat with a flying WV and declared his college choice would be West Virginia. This was on national TV. Over the weekend Anderson’s Face Book page said he is now considering delaying his signing indicating he is considering other options.
So it goes. These verbals are frequently meaningless. Some want to blast a 17 or 18 year old for reneging on their commitment. That is why I observe the recruiting process from afar. Most kids aren’t trying to mislead anyone, but these college coaches are experts at knowing how to turn their minds inside out. Obviously the next two weeks will be interesting to the recruitniks. I’ll be watching from the sidelines, admittedly anxious to see just who signs with the good guys.