We’ve entered a strange portion of the college football recruiting season, and yes there is such a thing.
Most of the top players in the 2013 class have already committed to a school, although none of this can actually become official until they get their hands on that letter of intent. National Signing Day is still a long way out, and early February can’t get here soon enough for the teams and fans thinking they’ve landed the next big thing.
And so passionate college football devotees are forced to place their faith in the “verbal commitment,” a paperless pledge that confirms a talented high schooler will attend their university of choice.
This advanced pinky swear sometimes plays to form, but, in a lot of instances, they end in heartbreak, nuclear message-board fallout, and tremendous analytics for recruiting websites that gladly broadcast the agony.
The No. 1 recruit in the country—Georgia defensive end Robert Nkemdiche—knows this process well. After verbally committing to Clemson earlier this year, he recently decommitted and is once again looking for a team.
Should we be surprised? Well, no. Nkemdiche’s recruitment has been strange from the get-go, and many assumed that this was far from over even when it was deemed over. This recent change of heart also highlights something you already know.
No player is committed until that piece of paper is signed and in. Once it finally arrives, you are then permitted to celebrate, though you shouldn't celebrate too excessively because that’s all sorts of creepy. Don’t be that guy or gal, and don’t laugh at the Tigers’ misfortune, non-Clemson fans. You could and likely will be next.
How solid is your star recruit’s verbal commitment, and will they eventually follow Nkemdiche’s path and decommit? We’ve created the following questionnaire to help determine if you should be concerned.
SPOILER ALERT: You should.
Has this player visited another school since committing to your program?
1. No, he’s been ours since day one. Don’t even look at him.
2. Yes, but only visits he had planned beforehand. Don’t get any ideas.
3. Yes, but they all do that, you idiot. Ouch, cold.
4. Yes, but it was Kentucky. No, seriously, he visited there.
5. Yes, he visited Alabama. Oh God, we are so #$%^ed.
To be clear, is Alabama currently recruiting this player?
1. No, and it wouldn’t matter if they were.
2. No, thank God.
3. Yes, we’re screwed.
Has this player rapidly improved his recruiting ranking on a major site in the past six months?
1. Yes, which is a great sign. Can’t wait to see him in our uniform!
2. No, he’s actually gotten worse. Still a diamond in the rough if you ask me.
3. Yeah, [insert site here that you now hate] dropped him, but they suck.
4. We’ve outkicked our coverage, and this will end in beer and a broken MacBook.
Is Urban Meyer interested in your player?
1. No, please tell me more about this “Big Ten” that I hear about from time to time.
2. Eh, Ohio State has only sent a letter to him. Who sends letters anyway?
3. They’ve talked, but our verbal is “strong,” according to my pet gold fish named Frank.
4. Yes, Urban Meyer’s RV has been parked outside his house for days; someone hold me.
Is Your Coach Currently On the “Hot Seat”?
1. Not a chance, recruits are pouring in! S-E-C, S-E-C, S-E-C
2. Probably not, but things could get Pinkel, I mean, dicey next year.
3. Getting there, and I am SICK AND TIRED OF LANDING 2-STAR WIDEOUTS.
4. Yes, we’re doomed. Let the poaching begin. WAR EAGLE.
How’s the weather on your campus?
1. Absolutely beautiful. I don’t own pants.
2. Not bad at all. I have to break out the hoodie every so often.
3. It gets chilly here in the winter, although we rarely get snow.
4. I usually don’t leave my house after Halloween.
5. B1G. Send blankets, fire, friends, help and hot chocolate ASAP.
Has this player’s family been heavily involved in their recruitment?
1. No, they’re leaving this important decision up to the player.
2. Kind of, but they’ve been very supportive of him throughout and back his decision.
3. Yes, his one bro plays at [insert school] while his other bro plays at [insert school].
4. His mom hates us and I’ve heard his dog prefers LSU. Should I be concerned?
Are Academics a Priority or Concern For the Player or Your School?
1. LOL, No.
2. LOL, No.
3. LOL, No.
4. LOL, No.
5. LOL, No.
Thank you for filling out this important questionnaire. Please tally up the total points—that is, total numbers selected in the questions above before proceeding.
If you tallied up between 0 and 1,000 points, your 5-star recruit who you desire badly is likely to decommit. It doesn’t look good for you, I'm afraid. I'm sorry to have to break this to you.
Please take the proper precautions and prepare yourself emotionally, and eliminate breakables from your current living quarters.