The day to day march through the Internet gathering information on recruits runs me into an on going theme for for college football recruits. The theme is playing time, also know as PT.
You will hear many of your top recruits talking about a desire for early playing time as a factor in where they will make their decision. What I have noticed as a common response by fans to this factor is that the recruit is “afraid of competition”. This is not the case.
With each passing year, recruits and their parents are becoming more educated on the recruiting process. The proliferation of recruiting websites reporting the ins and outs of the recruiting business have given parents and recruits alike an insight into how things work. Now, more than ever, schools are able to cast a wider net in acquiring recruits and through the internet they are able to gauge interests while educating recruits about what their school has to offer. In the past, recruits were pretty much relegated to choosing from schools in their immediate area because they knew precocious little about schools elsewhere. They did not have the ability to learn about other programs nor did they have a budget that would allow them to travel to many of the schools interested in them. This is no longer the case.
Choosing a program is a business decision for the recruit just as it is for the program. In making that business decision, recruits must determine their role in the program recruiting them and match it up against the others that are in the race. If a program is stock piled with young All-Americans at a recruit’s position then it is only natural that another program that has less traffic at their position would become more desirable. NFL salaries are a common known fact nowadays. Kids are choosing a school in hopes that someday they can earn their chance at the huge pot of gold that seems to be the NFL. Their athletic prowess is their livelihood. After all, aren’t the non-athletes choosing schools based on the ability of that school to set them up for a career post graduation?
The NFL is plucking talent from any and everywhere these days. The first overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft was from Central Michigan, a Mid-American Conference school (MAC). Kids are paying attention and are realizing that playing early and making your mark increases your chances of becoming a draft pick when your college playing days are up. So looking for a school that provides the best opportunity to do that would seem to be a wise business decision for many of the prospective recruits. College coaches are selling their depth chart in the recruiting process so one should not be shocked when you hear a kid say I am looking for early playing time.
When a recruit shuns your school, this not should be greeted with chants that a kid is “afraid of competition”. What is really happening is a kid making a business decision and using his leverage and options to arrive at the best decision for his future. This may be a tough pill for a hard core fan to swallow as there seems precious little reason in your mind for a recruit not to love your school as much as you do. Putting on your “I’m a Human Being” hat, you have to see it from the kid’s point of view.
Saying a kid wanting early playing time is a problem may be quite the opposite. In some cases you may need to worry about a kid who could care less about getting on the field. That player may be looking to just grab the education and not go all out to be a contributor to the on-field success of a program. Of course, there are kids that don’t care about the depth chart and will put their best foot forward just like there will be kids who are indeed afraid of competition. However, let’s not be absolute in our assessment of these young recruits. You may just be completely wrong about them.
Author: Chad Wilson
Chad Wilson is a college football recruiting expert and creator of the GridironStudsApp which allows high school football players to gain exposure to college football coaches and fans. Wilson is a former college football player for the University of Miami (92-94) and Long Beach St. (’90-’91) and played briefly for the Seattle Seahawks (’95). He is also a former youth and high school football coach for over 15 years. Wilson’s older son Quincy plays in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts and his younger son plays cornerback for the University of Florida. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.