Elite Players Have the Upper Hand in College Football Recruiting

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterJanuary 14, 2013

We are three weeks from national signing day and the recruiting trail is heating up. This is the home stretch and coaches have the gloves off as they try to stock their coffers with the 25 best football players they can corral.

For the bulk of kids, it is about the best offer, hoping to get an offer and trying to maximize where they end up.

However, for the elite high-school football players, the recruiting process has become more about them doing the picking than a head coach recruiting them into his program. For the elite, it is about maximizing their pull, making a power play and ending up in the best possible situation.

Some fans call it holding schools hostage. Some folks call them prima donnas. Some people say they are entitled.

Me? I think they are smart.

While people piss and moan about how kids should handle their recruitment, the player is forcing the most powerful men in college football to bend over backward for him. They are not just offering him the chance to play football; they are pleading for the chance to to coach these kids—asking for these elite players to join their class and help them keep their jobs.

If you ask me, that's the way that it should be.

The recruiting process is the last time that certain players truly hold the cards. When you get to college, you are captive to the whims of the coaching staff. After that, you are at the mercy of the NFL. The only time a player regains this power is during contract negotiations. Specifically, if they are lucky enough to be in their second contract.

In other words: If you're one of the few players who is talented enough to have a place at the top echelon of the recruiting world, milk it. These kids have worked hard, sacrificed summers, lived in the weight room and done the extra work to put themselves in this position.

Turning the tables on the process is their reward.

That means take all of your visits. That means change your mind as you see fit. That means wait until the last minute. That means national signing day doesn't have to end your recruitment if you are not ready to pull the trigger.

Make those coaches work. Make them impress you. Tell them you'd like to play with some friends. In this dance, where fans are so worried about commitments, find out just how committed to you that coach happens to be. You're the one who is going to help him get that next million-dollar pay raise; make him earn it.

The sad part in all of this?

That fans, people either so wrapped up in their own team or who simply don't like athletes' autonomy, lash out at these kids who hold the power. Coaches are making millions of dollars—it's OK if a recruit or two makes them earn it on the trail.