For Top Recruits, Choosing to Go Out of State Can Incur the Wrath of Fans
So, I’m on Facebook last night and come across a comment made by top recruit Jeremy Cash in which he asked why everyone is so interested in his life. Apparently and this is an assumption on my part, Cash has been getting a little heat from University of Miami, Florida and possibly Florida St. fans because a talented kid from the state has chosen to be a Buckeye. This happens all too often.
After reading it, I impart my wisdom to Cash and make the comment that he’d better get used to it and how I watched top Ohio recruit Latwan Anderson go through the same thing with Buckeye fans when he chose to go to Miami. This happens for any coveted recruit that leaves the state to play football. It’s the nature of college football and their fans FROM ALL TEAMS. Innocent enough, I thought. Boy was I mistaken. Within 15 minutes, there’s a comment to my comment from a gentleman named Cliff Smith who writes for a website I have too much respect for to mention in this light.
“Gridiron, you crack me up. Exactly what did Twan get hard from Buck fans? 90% of what I saw leading up to and after his commitment was about how he is a much better fit at UM and wishing him luck. I saw very little sour grapes (which you’ll have some of with every fanbase),” he says.
So Mr. Smith wants us to believe that Ohio St. Buckeye fans, who as he clearly shows are some of the most passionate, knowledgeable and opinionated in all of college football were O.K. with the top recruit in the state heading to The Miami Hurricanes? What did he have in his brown paper bag last night? Not only were a few Buckeye fans snippy on Anderson’s Facebook page but the message boards were particularly ugly. Comments in Buckeye message boards about Anderson not having the grades so he couldn’t get into Ohio St. anway, to he will be just fine at “Thug U”, to we didn’t need him anyway were commonplace but shhhhh don’t tell Cliff Smith that. Mr. Smith was too busy burying his head in the sand thinking that Buckeye fans are somehow going to be different than the fans for all of the other college football programs in the country. Comically, not too long after Mr. Smith replied to my comment, a Buckeye fan also comments with this “Latwan Anderson did not have the grades to get into Ohio St.” This guy just made my point for me. It was stuff like this, Anderson had to and to a certain degree still has to endure from some Ohio St. fans.
Another common occurrence on Facebook are fans having verbal jousts on a recruit’s page that can rage on for 100 comments. In an effort to avoid this situation, I replied back:
“Guys, this is Jeremy’s page. Sorry I mentioned Latwan Anderson. Didn’t know it would be a lightning rod. If anyone wants to discuss this, hit me up on my page. I can’t stand when fans and the like have debates on a recruit’s page. It’s juvenile”
This is me clearly trying to kick sand on a small fire and put it out. I can keep my thoughts to myself and Mr. Smith can keep his opinions in tact so we can all move on but Noooooooo. Mr. Smith’s reply:
“Agreed. Puzzled why he was brought up in the first place. Nice backpedal and projecting though. Congrats to Ocho!”
Was that necessary? No. I’m backpedaling? Was his first comment to me necessary? No. So, if you know me then you know that sarcasm is what I do. I couldn’t help myself,
“Ok, Cliffy thanks. Go have another doughnut buddy!,” I replied.
Was it unnecessary, I guess you could say yes. Was it juvenile, probably. Did Mr. Smith, fan masquerading as a writer deserve it? Oh hell yeah.
Of course, his feelings were hurt and he replied stating how my reply was juvenile and that he really didn’t have anything else to say to me. This is how I wanted it in the first place and it took me getting juvenile to accomplish that mission. I let Mr. Smith have the last word on Jeremy’s page because it seems that was the only way it could be. It’s over right? Wrong.
I wake up this morning to another piece of communication from a “writer” from the same publication I don’t want to mention out of respect for the organization. His was the most hilarious of all communications I have received in 2010. The gentleman’s (term used loosely) name is Nick Leach and he said the following in an email to me:
Chad, I just wanted to say I was disappointed with the comments you made on Jeremy Cash’s page. I know you’re saddened he chose OSU over Miami (I’ll wait for you to say you don’t care), but such is life. To make up statements like the state of Ohio turned on Latwan is not only ludicrous but it gives a false impression to a recruit, which for someone that runs a website I find extremely distasteful and upsetting. You are entitled to your opinion, as is everyone, but to make those falsities on his public page was just a low that I did not expect from you.
Let’s break this down. First of all, I run a website that aids high school football players from all over the country get into colleges located all over the country. To stake my emotional state on where a kid chooses to go to school would be ludicrous. Yes, I played at the University of Miami. Yes, I root for them on Saturdays but to think that I lose sleep over whether or not a talented recruit goes there or not shows how little brain power Mr. Leach is working with. Gridironstuds.com was instrumental in launching Jeff Luc to superstar status last year. Not only did I tell Miami about Luc when he first put his video on my site, I told any and everyone across the country. In the end, Jeff went to Florida St. and I am elated for the kid. I was not saddened, disgruntled or remorseful. Luc will tell you that himself. I was the first to congratulate him on that important milestone in his life. That’s what I started this site for.
For Mr. Leach to be disappointed in me he would first have to care about me and that is clearly not so. The guy does not know me from a hole in the wall. Maybe he thinks I am one of these recruits he calls up and tries to pretend he’s buddies with. He forgets that I had one other piece of communication with him and he came off like a pompous jerk then too.
He said my comments were extremely “distasteful” and “upsetting”. My comments upset him extremely? Whoa, looks like somebody needs to get a life. I am going to take up a donation to get Mr. Leach an X-Box or a subscription to “E-Harmony”. He also described my comments as “falsities”. Refer to my comments about Mr. Smith having his head in the sand.
Finally, both Mr. Smith and Mr. Leach apparently, know very little about Jeremy Cash. I have spoken to Cash on a few occasions. I have spoken with his step father as well and have been around Cash enough to see how he conducts himself. I don’t know that I have seen a high school aged kid with his act more together academically, athletically, socially and spiritually as he. Brett Goetz, the founder of the South Florida Express 7-on-7 team speaks highly enough about Cash to make you think he would vote Cash president if he were on the ballot. To suggest that my innocent comment, intended to put Cash’s situation in perspective, would lead to him changing his mind about Ohio St. is the only thing that is disappointing. Jeremy Cash is too strong minded and intelligent to be swayed by the words of people outside of his circle. That would include me, Mr. Smith and Mr. Leach. Shame on these two guys for giving that impression.
Would Cash have been a great pick up for the University of Miami? He is a good pick up for any school that gets him. He brings a lot to the table for a school and Cash will get a lot from The Ohio St. University, one of the most prestigious colleges and football programs in the country.
Unfortunately, Ohio St. Buckeye fans are like Republicans. The overwhelming majority of their fans are cordial, polite and generally have good dispositions. However, the small percentage of them that choose to draw publicity, speak up and make themselves heard represent them in a poor way. At least that has been my experience and that played itself out once again in this “incident.”
Latwan Anderson, is also too head strong, too determined and too focused to be swayed by the comments made on his Facebook page, message boards or in his email inbox. Those qualities are what have driven guys like Anderson and Cash to the top of their game. Fans should not waste their time, reputation and dignity trying to persuade them leading up to and after they have made their decision.
I went through the recruiting process, twice! For anyone to think that I would factor in the opinions of fans, reporters and others over that of my parents, relatives and coaches is profoundly stupid for lack of a better word.
Future recruits that are highly rated and choose to leave the state to play for a program that is a rival will also be the same way. These young men have achieved their level of success by being more than athletically gifted, they had to be mentally strong to get there too. This is something that the Cliff Smiths and Nick Leachs of the World can’t understand.