To Walk On or Not to Walk On. That is a Prospect’s Question

If you’re a high school football player in the midst of or nearing the end of your career on the prep Gridiron then this article most definitely is for you.

It’s getting down to decision time. Of course,  at some point,  you had visions of playing big time football on CBS or ABC or ESPN, etc. However, it is reality time. The big time offers did not come your way and you would still like to play college football so you are weighing your options. Those options could be anywhere from prep school to small school partial scholarships to walking on at the power 5 school that couldn’t offer you a scholarship.

In my nearly 2 decades of doing this, most of the time prospects faced with these options choose the walk on route. Unfortunately, many times it ends up being not what they expected and they abandon that course.  What I have learned over the years is that your experience as a walk on boils down to your expectations. I have had some prospects thoroughly enjoy the walk on experience and others who have hated it so much that they don’t even like football anymore. As I questioned them about the experience,  overwhelmingly it seems the unhappy ones expected far more than they should have.

What needs to be understood as a walk on is that the school did not offer you a scholarship. You as a prospect need to understand what that means. No matter how much you think they like you, the reality is that they did not like you enough to offer you one of their precious scholarships. To give you an analogy, it’s like a girl telling you she likes you but not enough to call you her boyfriend. Let that sink in for a while. Now you may be so infatuated with the young lady that you are willing to be her friend in hopes that someday she will grow to love you but there’s also the likelihood that you will be in the friend zone forever. In the midst of you chilling in the friend zone, friends and others may make fun of you asking you what the hell are you doing? Furthermore, you will have to sit back and watch her date other guys, most of whom you will think you are better than. How’s that for a mental visual?

Seemingly, it would take a whole lot of love to bury your pride, put in all that work and still be happy when you aren’t ultimately getting what it is you want.  With that in mind, two things need to happen.  First, if you are going to walk on somewhere you better love the school and the football program if you want to have a good experience.  Loving these things will make the work and not having a scholarship be OK.  Second, you should head into this walk on experience not expecting to ever get a scholarship.  It is tough to get mad at not getting something you didn’t expect to get in the first place.

Now, what I said may not seem like a champion mindset. I can understand that line of thinking.  However, the walk on experience is a different animal.  If you don’t have the appropriate mindset, you won’t survive.  For the most part, you are going to do all the work that the scholarship players are doing but at the end of the week,  you will not get what they get.  The scholarship players will get the playing time and the multitude of opportunities. Not to mention their books, their room, their board and their meals for free.  This will happen despite the fact that you may feel that you are better than the guys on scholarship.

The most effective way that I have seen guys obtain scholarships who have the actual ability to do so is by adopting the mindset I laid out previously in this article. Fall in love with the work, be in love with the game, become infatuated with the preparation and eventually talent meets opportunity. The other part is that some guys never do get the scholarship however they make some awesome connections that they end up using in their post college career.  Not to mention that they end up being a part of some thing great that they can remember for the rest of their lives.

So in summary, if you are going to go the walk on route, choose a school and a football program where you honestly feel you would enjoy the experience even if you never earned a scholarship. Falling short of that, you should walk on at a school where you are almost assured of earning a scholarship. That would be at a school that was extremely close to offering you one and for some unforeseen reason they were not able to at the moment. Choosing something that falls outside of those two places typically ends up in disappointment for the prospect.

Want A College Football Scholarship? Study the Field

By now you should know that in order to be successful you’re going to half to do some studying.  If you haven’t learned anything else in school, at least you’ve at least learned that.

It would be a shame if you didn’t take what you’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to other places in your life, most notably in the game of recruiting. What you should have also learned is that Recruiting is about competition. You have  little chance of succeeding over your competition if you have not studied it.  So with that in mind,  let’s talk about what that studying involves.

First of all you have to take stock of what the college programs you are interested in are recruiting. Take a look at their previous recruiting classes and see who they have signed from your position. What’s their height, weight and attributes.  Are they similar to yours? You don’t have to totally focus on the height aspect or the weight aspect, pay attention to the attributes.  You may not fit the bill when it comes to the height and weight but you may really have the traits that players they have recruited before have.  Make a full assessment of the type of players they like to have in their system.

One of the other things that I personally like to do is take a look at the top 100 list at the recruiting websites like Rivals and 247 Sports.  Looking at that gives you an idea of what it is college football programs would like to recruit. I am not just talking about the Power 5 programs,  I am also talking about the programs that are at the levels below that too.  Truth be told the lower level programs are trying every day to be the upper level programs.  So, this may seem foolish but they are trying to recruit the same kind of players even though they may have less of a chance of signing them.  Study what it is those players have and try to determine why they are so highly recruited.

Make sure while you are doing this that you aren’t getting too caught up in the things that you can’t control.  Again, height and weight are not the only factors to consider.  You should take a look at how athletic and how fast these prospects are. Also, how strong are they?  These are areas where you have more direct control and they should be the areas of your focus.  If your height and weight measures up to what the programs are recruiting, great! However, if you do not measure up there, please understand that you will have to have more of the other traits to be considered.

Another area where you can do some studying is at the off-season camps. Hopefully, you have been invited to them to participate. If you have,  while you are competing,  take note of the players you are going up against and in particular the ones that you know are highly recruited. Look at their intangibles. What is their attitude like? Are they highly competitive? Do they show leadership skills? Take note of these things and compare it to where you stand in those areas. Perhaps you can make some changes and improvements in those areas to capture the attention of the schools you would like to go to.

If you have, unfortunately, not been invited to the camps, I would not sit at home and pout. You would do well to go to the camp anyway and view it as a spectator. While you are doing that you can take notes on what is being done at the camp, See how guys perform and where it is you can fill in the gap. You will be that much better when you get invited to the camp next year.  If this was your last year then try to apply what you’ve learned from watching the highly recruited players at the camp to your preparation as you head into your final season.  Don’t underestimate your ability to make drastic improvements. You are still young and things can change rather quickly.

At the end of the day,  there are a bunch of players that would like to get the scholarship spots that you are vying for.  If you don’t do your due diligence and study those that you’re going up against, you put yourself at a disadvantage when the time comes to hand out offers and sign scholarships.

Commit to Who? Commit to What? College Football Out of Control

Imagine a quiet romantic evening with your girlfriend at a restaurant,  followed by a walk into a crowded town square.   As you approach the waterfall during engaging conversation about the future,  you drop down to one knee and profess your love to her in front of dozens of strangers.  Fortunately she says yes and with glee you hug and kiss.  A bigger part of your future is now secured or so it seemed.

Months of planning would ensue after such an event and after all is said and done,  the date is planned.  You anxiously await the coming day but suddenly you receive a phone call a couple of weeks out.  Your fiance’s mothers is on the line.  She has informed you that “Kelly” is not going to be able to get married on that day but great news,  her cousin Anna is going to be your interim bride to be until the family finds you a new love of your life.  No worries though,  the family has secured a top notch search team to make sure the right one is found.  Ah yes,  what is love?

What I just described was not a Saturday Night Live script but the current state of our popular Saturday sport.  If you have been following me for any amount of time,  you have seen me lament the way we throw out coaches like dry erase markers.  Gone are the days of Haden Frye,  LaVell Edwards,  Don Nehlan,  Tom Osborne and the like.  You know guys who could keep their jobs even if they did not win “the big one”.  I have sounded the alarm like the haggard old man outside the stadium pleading with drunken fans to repent for their sins before Jesus Christ returns to claim his followers.

I carry a young face but the truth is that I have been around for half of a century.  It has allowed me enough time to see the way the river flows and predict the body of water it will end up in.  In this case,  college football is up to it’s neck in murky fluids.  I saw this day coming but like most things nowadays,  it has arrived even faster than I expected.

Don’t get me wrong,  I am not overcome with sorrow for the college football coaches.  How could I entirely be when I see how much they are given to skip town.  The numbers I am reading means their departure won’t be on a Greyhound.  However,  a part of me is sad for the coaches who are not given an authentic opportunity to make an impact in the lives of the young men they have been chosen to lead.  Instead,  they have been bastardized into coaching strictly for a check as the only point of view that matters is that of the rabid fanbase exploding on a social media account near you.

Precious little consideration is given to the young men who are trying their best to make a life decision and to those who have already walked down the aisle.  I know what the common masses will think.  What’s the problem,  you can just change your commitment or jump in the transfer portal.  I guess I can’t blame you for this line of thinking if you have never thrown your line into these waters.  Behind all of the offers, trips, social media posts, recruiting website hype and glorification are actual young men coming into their own.  Behind them are their families and a whole lot of emotion going into a decision.  For many,  this is the first real decision they are making in their lives and what are they learning?

For lack of a better term,  college football has turned into a real “pimp and hoe” situation.  Where there has once been a “Black Monday” where coaches who didn’t perform up to the often unrealistic expectations would be terminated by season’s end has given way to “Black Any Damn Day” where you could be fired at any moment,  at anytime in any place.  Yes sir,  you could get kicked out of that Buick with no clothes on.   Ask Scott Frost,  Herman Edwards, Geof Collins, Karl Dorrell and Paul Chryst who are all tasting the blood in their mouth from the pimp slap.   We don’t even let coaches make it to Halloween anymore.  The boogeyman comes in September now.

Left in the wake of all this “pimpitry” are the 17-21 year olds who now have their lives tossed Into chaos.  Whether you,  the fan,  like it or not,  people make decisions about places based on people.  The majority of the players on a college football team are there because a person convinced them that they should be there with them but them is often gone by the time they get settled.

At this point,  what is a college football prospect committing to?  Are they committing to a building,  a city,  a student union or perhaps a major that they may not be able to take because the classes conflict with the business at hand.  You know,  if you keep missing practice to take that afternoon class and the team loses to their rival,  somebody’s gonna be pounding a Coldwell Banker sign into their front lawn.

In this multi-faceted collision of entities in college football,  the ones least considered in virtually all decisions are the youngest,  most impressionable and hardest working,  the players.  The conduct of the “adults” have forced the youth to adopt a selfish mindset.  The recruit must think of himself and himself only as this will be the only one interested in his best interests.  When a coach sits on your couch during an official visit and stares into your eyes to tell you he’s not going anywhere it has to sound like the wayward father telling his son “I’m going to the store to get some cigarettes,  I’ll be right back.”  Come on college football,  we’ve got to do better.

 

University Miami Football Has to Stop Doing This

Lost in all of the drowning of sorrows late Saturday night after the University of Miami suffered one of the more embarrassing defeats in it’s history was the hollowness of the stadium during this dark moment in time.  Once again,  the team was on the field trying to do it’s best to restore the legacy while precious few people were in the stands witnessing it.  I was once a guy who blamed the fans,  I am not that guy anymore.

When you are in Gainesville, or Lexington or Lincoln,  Nebraska,  you might get pumped up to watch the local college football team go battle the Middle Tennessee St. What’s Their Names on a Saturday afternoon in the heat.  In those towns,  the local tractor pull,  rodeo or ax throwing contests can be pushed to a later date to watch the home team get it in vs. a team they had to pay to show up.  I don’t know if you’ve been down here to Miami before or not (judging by the skyrocketing home prices,  you’re lying if you say you haven’t) but there’s a lot to do on a Saturday in September.  You folks in Po-dunk can say all you want about loyalty but your overalls tell me your loyalty was not an option.

For some odd reason,  the powers to be at the University of Miami thought it a grand idea to feed their fanbase this glorious trio of home soup for the first three games of the season:  Bethune Cookman,  Southern Mississippi and Middle Tennessee St.  You should not be surprised when the customer says take that back to the kitchen.  I’m going to lay this at the feet of the admin.  For three weeks now,  the players have had to come through the smoke and clear their eyes to see a handful of people in the stands.  Football is an emotional game and a robust home crowd can feed the energy needed even against a team without a name like Middle Tennessee St.

How long can you keep playing opponents like this before you start becoming a team like them?  This scheduling phenomenon has been going on for quite some time and it kind of falls in line with the collapse of the dynasty.  It wasn’t always this way through.  It has been 21 years since the University of Miami has stood atop the college football World.  For those of you old enough to remember when this thing started back in 1983,  that would be thinking back to 1962 when this dynasty run started.  Think about that.  That is black and white TV’s,  rotary phones, full meals on an airplane and everyone going to church on Sunday.  Back then,  Miami was an Independent and could schedule anyone.  Fans back then would get treated to visits from Penn St., Notre Dame and Florida in the Orange Bowl.  Prior to 1983,  Miami was looking to get themselves on the map by scheduling these titans to try get their location services powered up.  Now we schedule games like we have something to protect?  Well,  like the rotary phones and $.25 per gallon gas prices,  our championship aura is gone.  What are we protecting?  We are very much the program that we were in 1980.  A has been with the potential to be once more.  We won’t get there scheduling like we have been.

No longer can we be afraid to take an L because a real opponent might show up on our home turf.  We are the underdog.  We can’t be the ones climbing on top of the car to get away from the savage canine.  We have to go bite people!  Players did not sign up to come duke it out with borderline division II football programs.  I was extremely disappointed when we joined the Big East in 1991.  I thought back then we should be in the SEC so we can face top shelf opponents more often.  Look at what the SEC has blossomed into.  For reasons I am not privy to,  we did the Big East thing and then pivoted to the ACC.   If joining the ACC meant we had to ink up these corny deals to play opponents more motivated than us,  I would have gathered the bottles and rocks up myself to throw in protest.

The Atlantic Coast Conference is not a juggernaut.  Furthermore,  it does not provide many, if it all,  matchups that would excite the South Florida locals.  Few of the born and raised or transplants have a connection to Duke, Virginia, V-Tech, North Carolina, Georgia Tech or even Pittsburgh.  People from those areas don’t move down here.  They think South Floridians are nuts.  Unless Clemson or Florida St. show up at Hard Rock Stadium,  you have no shot at getting to 75% capacity in the stands.  That means on most Saturdays,  there is no energy for the players to feed off of in their stadium.  Literally,  everything they get is off the muscle.

I remember Notre Dame coming to town in 2017.  I can’t blame any fan who was in attendance that night for thinking the U was back.  The emotion,  the atmosphere and the energy was enough to take anyone back.  It was like that 20 year retired NBA vet hitting a jumper and wanting to call up the Laker’s GM.  I swear the crowd pushed the team to the 41-8 blowout that night.  That was the last time the University of Miami has had a marquee non-conference opponent grace the Hard Rock turf.

How bad has the scheduling been?  There have only been three ranked opponents to play the University of Miami in Hard Rock Stadium in the last four plus seasons.  Zero of those three teams were outside of the ACC.   This is the worst such run on ranked opponents since 1980.  Here are the non-conference home opponents since the beginning of the 2018 season:

Savannah St.
FIU
Bethune Cookman
Central Michigan
UAB
App. St.
Michigan St.
Central Connecticut
Bethune Cookman
Southern Mississippi
Middle Tenneesee St.

Somebody pass me a puke emoji.  These teams will not get fans to the games.  It won’t happen in this town where the sun is always shining,  the liquor is always flowing and the ocean is always blue.

Memo to the University athletic department:  You’ve hired the right coach and you’ve started spending the right amount of money.  It’s time to add the last piece.  Start scheduling the right opponents.  The ACC Conference is not that.  It’s not tough enough to say you must go soft on non-conference opponents.  We,  the University of Miami,  currently are not that.  We have to go get people.  We must revert back to our pre on the map days by bringing the best to town and try to a) make a run at knocking them off and b) see where we are at.

In closing,  schedules these days are made well in advance.  Here’s a peek at what the non-conference slate looks like going forward

’23

Miami of Ohio
Texas A&M

’24

FAMU
Ball St.

’25

USF
Notre Dame

’26

FAMU
BYU
Central Michigan

It’s a little better than what we are getting this year but still not where we need to be.  If the opportunity presents itself,  I suggest we get FAMU out of there.  We definitely don’t need to see them twice in a three year period.  One of those MAC opponents gotta go.  At most,  we should be playing only one sub Power 5 opponent non conference each year.  Yes,  load up and take on the challenges.  Be willing to lose and unafraid to knuckle up to best college football has to offer.  That will get us the attention we want and deserve instead of the type we are wallowing in this week.

Why is He a 5-Star? Brandon Inniss

If you had a chance to watch nationally ranked American Heritage take on Los Alamitos high school on ESPN last weekend,  you no doubt noticed wide receiver Brandon Inniss.  For people who pay attention to the South Florida high school football scene,  Inniss is an all too familiar name and one that seems to have been around for a decade.  In this article we will dig into why Inniss has achieved 5-Star status and why seemingly every school in the country is vying for his services.

Playmaker

Terrell Owens once yelled on the sidelines of a game “who can make a play? I can!”  Well that line suits Inniss so well.  Whenever you need one,  Inniss is there.  There’s something about this prospect and his ability to turn up big when the moment is huge.  Inniss is a fierce competitor that wells up with passion when it seems the outcome is in doubt.  It is this nature that put him on the scene and has allowed him to rise to the top of it.  Lined up against another top recruit in Malaki Lemon in the game vs. Los Alamitos,  Inniss surged by the two way athlete to settle up under a fade route from Heritage quarterback Blake Murphy.  Inniss,  matched up against a top athlete,  made it look easy and it’s something he has done time and again in his high school career.  When the moment is big,  his star shines bright.

Great Hands

Get the ball anywhere near Inniss and he’s hauling it in.  One of his biggest assets is his ability to win the 50 / 50 ball vs defenders.  He is also not one to alligator arm it across the middle.  This wide receiver wants all of the smoke.  Rarely do you see a drop from Inniss and it’s more likely you will see him rise up over a defender to rip away the ball as well as the defender’s pride.  Inniss combines the route running of a wide receiver with the dependable hands of an All Pro tight end.  This makes life easy for quarterbacks.

Great with the Ball in His Hands

Not only does Inniss do a good job of making the tough catches but he’s damn tough after making the tough catches.  His game film is littered with clips of him bullying his way down the field after getting the ball.  His ability to do things with the football went on full display his junior season.  The heavily recruited wide receiver had to take over at quarterback following a season ending injury to Murphy.  Out of his wide receiver spot for the majority of the season,  Inniss became even more dangerous receiving the ball on every play at QB.  I would dare say that this took him from 4-star to 5-star status.  Inniss put the team on his back and unleashed a diet of RPOs complete with QB runs, precision slant passes along with well placed post and fade routes for touchdowns.  Most impressive though was the juke ability and tackle breaking that Inniss showed on a majority of his runs.  This left coaches salivating about what he could do when the ball is thrown to him at their program.

Well Put Together

Receivers nowadays come in all shapes and sizes.  They can be bite sized slot guys that excel in short area quickness to tall rangy outside types that jump over people on long down field throws.  Inniss is listed at 6’0″ 190 lbs. but you would swear that he’s more than that if you saw him in pads. Along with the facial hair,  Inniss’ seemingly 200 lb. frame makes him look like a guy that already has a meal card and a 5 A.M. lift schedule at a major football program.  We all know that coaches recruit body types and when you see Inniss,  he’s screaming Power 5 from build he presents.  He’s a solid 190 if that’s what he is.  He will very much remind you of former NFL’er Anquan Boldin.

Been Around for a While

When you bust on the scene in 8th grade and meaningfully contribute,  the odds can be in your favor in terms of being rated high.  However,  what typically happens is early attention getters fall off.  A super young guy can be dominating because he reached puberty ahead of his peers. Many times a guy gets stuck at his height, weight and skill from 9th grade.  This was not the case from Inniss.  He caught they eye of recruiters early on and continued to improve with each passing year.  This is literally what all recruiters that hand out early offers are hoping for.  They don’t want to find themselves in the position later on of having to ditch guys in their junior / senior years.  Inniss did not present that problem.  As the years wore on,  more schools jumped on the bandwagon.  At one point,  he was committed to Oklahoma and Lincoln Riley.  However,  when Riley headed for the Pacific Ocean and USC,  Inniss backed off of his Sooner pledge.  Eventually,  he landed with top ranked Ohio St. as he committed to them this summer.

The only thing missing from Inniss’ game is blazing speed but with the amount of other stuff he brings at an elite level it’s easy to look beyond any deficiencies that may exist in the top speed category.  One should fully expect Inniss to arrive on the scene early no matter what school he ends up signing with.

 

Recruiting Law: Loyalty is a Two Way Street

You may have heard new Oklahoma head coach Brent Venables wax poetic on commitments in college football.  Full disclosure,  Venables is one of my favorite coaches in college football and a guy I have had the pleasure of meeting.  Venables has brought “the Clemson way” in terms of recruiting with him to Oklahoma.  A commitment,  is a commitment,  is a commitment.  There was a time where this didn’t need to be said but boy times are a changing.

It seems that in a flash we have gone from sitting out a year when you transferred to enter the portal now and play tomorrow.  We’ve gone from National Signing Day to National Signing Days and from free ride to NIL deals in the millions.  All of these things had been brewing for a while so no one should be surprised when the word loyalty has firmly buckled itself into the back seat of a extra long Suburban.  Venables is certainly right when he says “we ought to teach young men what commitment looks like.  However,  loyalty is a pot luck dinner in recruiting that requires everyone to bring a dish.  With that in mind,  allow me to give you a few things to remember when it comes to being loyal and commitment in the world of college football recruiting.

One of the biggest points Venables makes when speaking on recruiting is that when you commit to Oklahoma,  that’s the end of taking recruiting trips.  I realize that the way I just put that sounds like an ultimatum but it’s not quite that way.  Venables’ philosophy is that he doesn’t want you to commit to the Sooners until you are absolutely ready.  He encourages prospects to take all the trips they can.  He is adamant that student athletes and their parents do their research.  When all of that is said and done,  make your decision.   If your decision is his program that means no more looking around.  He draws comparisons to marriage and rightfully so,  in theory.  Not every programs operates the way Venables’ does.  Some staffs find themselves in desperate situations.  They also like the momentum that commitments bring.  Sometimes commitments get others on the fence to commit.  One guy’s commitment can create a snowball effect and thus will be encouraged by some college coaches.  Recruiting can be as tough a game as the sport that’s played in the Fall.

Once that commitment is made,  all coaches will frown on a prospect running around to look at other schools and potentially getting swayed by a number of factors are present on campus.  It would be nice if schools also ceased pursuing new prospects at your position once you commit but we all know that this is not true.  Call it a lack of integrity by the staff or paranoia but this phenomenon exists.  Even worse,  scholarship offers can get pulled days before it’s time to put ink to paper.  Yes,  that’s similar to the unblocked defensive end getting a free run through the T6 and T7 vertebrae.  It is best that you stop taking trips after your commitment as doing so will certainly keep the staff you committed to on the prowl for another prospect.

To avoid committing before you are ready,  I highly recommend that prospects avoid committing during their visit to a school.  I say this even if the school you are committing to is your last visit.  It is always best to remove yourself from the elements and the pressure of the staff to come to your final conclusion.  Get home from the trip,  discuss the decision with the important people in your life even if that only person is you.  This limits a decision that you regret and causes you to have to back track from slightly or fully.  Doing this erodes trust and guess what,  the next school you commit to will have in the back of their mind that you left someone hanging before you got to them.

As Venables says,  take all of your trips.  If you have the ability to do this,  then by all means please do.  However,  things aren’t always so cut and dry.  A prospect may take a couple of trips to schools who were interested.  We know that things get sped up in the recruiting game so there may be pressure to take a spot that is closing.  At some point beyond that,  a prospect may become more desired and new schools may come into play.  This a good but bad situation.  My advice on this is to ultimately do what is best for you but be honest in your dealings.  If new schools have come into play and you have trips remaining,  take the trips if you can even if you have committed to another school.  However,  be straight up with the school you are committed to.  Tell them what you are going to do because in this day in age,  there are few secrets.  We live in the camera phone,  social media,  breaking news era.  Sneaking off on a visit and expecting not to get caught is like going to the club when you told your girlfriend you were going to bed.  Good luck with that.  I would also suggest that you move quickly on the new interest.  Determine with speed if it’s for you or not.  If it is,  make your move and be sure the new school really wants you.  If it isn’t,  reaffirm with the school you are committed to that you are firmly in their class.  The staff will need that assurance.

A commitment,  though not binding,  should be a celebration.  It’s symbolizes the “potential” end to a long awaited and developing process.  What it should not do is make you blind.  This is where the recruiting process and marriage comparisons may have to fist pound and go their separate ways.  College football is a fluid situation.  Coaches leave and get fired as often as politicians get caught in scandals.  I am not just talking about head coaches either.  Part of your decision process was seeing yourself fitting into a particular offensive or defensive system.  Coordinators leaving can impact your future too.  Keep an eye out for the developments at the school you committed to.  Furthermore,  as I mentioned earlier in this article,  many programs keep on recruiting your position after your commitment.  Not all coaches went to the Brent Venables school of ethics and not all are in as comfortable a spot as he is either.  Pressure brings challenges to morals and not all men pass the test.  Maintain your relationships with other coaches and programs beyond your commitment.  Because things get murky in recruiting,  you don’t want to be caught without a clean pair of clothes to change into should mud get slung onto your blue jeans.  Have the discipline to maintain a relationship with the coaches that have recruited you while making it clear that you are committed to that other program.

Should conditions change in a significant way at your original school,  it’s best to have options.  You don’t want be left out in the cold in this once in a lifetime process that can affect you well into the future.  Be loyal but not to a fault.  Some call that being stupid.