National Signing Day 2013: Recruiting Process Proves Commitments Are Pointless

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IFebruary 2, 2013

Jan 5, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; East running back Derrick Henry (2) before the U.S. Army All-American Bowl high school football game against the West at the Alamodome. The East won 15-8. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

What is the point of a recruit committing to a program these days?

Ask yourself that question.

Get back to me when you have a reasonable answer.

College football's recruiting process has always been a madhouse, but it's gotten even worse lately. Top recruits commit, then decommit, then commit again, only to decommit again and sign with a different school on national signing day.

It causes all kinds of problems. Coaches get angry, fans get irate, recruits get confused, and everybody is stressed out.

All too often people tend to forget that these recruits are teenagers. Sure, some top recruits may play like men, but to expect them to know what they're doing at such a young age is not only naive, it's wrong.

It's funny how everyone jumps to the conclusion that a top recruit has "character concerns" if he commits then decommits. People don't say, "Well, good for him, he found the right fit." They say, "Who does he think he is?! He's just been playing us this whole time."

Is it possible, perhaps, that he never knew what he was doing in the first place? After all, it's hard enough for the modern-day teenage recruit to weigh his options without countless "mentors" and "friends" telling him what he should do. Recruits are pulled in so many different directions these days that it's a wonder that they aren't complete basketcases by signing day.

Of course, that's not to say some recruits don't play the "high and mighty" act. Some clearly like to build the anticipation, only to "shock the world" when they completely change courses when it matters. Some actually get a certain joy out of this. In other words, the egotistical become egomaniacs. 

But for those recruits not playing the fans and media, I've never understood why they commit to a program early in the first place. I've never understood the point of that. Why not wait until signing day to make your decision, when you've visited all the schools you've wanted to and you have a better picture of the pros and cons of each program?

And that's where I'm going with this. There is absolutely no reason there should be commits in the first place. It only causes chaos, confusion and ill will. Recruits these days are treated in the same manner as LeBron James was when he left Cleveland for the Miami Heat. "The Decision" indeed.

Recruits are being blasted for simply having a change of heart. For example, 5-star running back Derrick Henry was ripped by practically the entire state of Georgia when he decommitted from the Bulldogs and committed to Alabama.

Bobby Ramsay, Henry's coach at Yulee (Fla.) High School, may have said it best, via ESPN:

Really, at the end of the day, they're just making a decision about where they want to go to college. You have grown men getting online calling a kid a punk, but what were you doing when you were 17 years old? Did you ever change your mind? You've never made a decision and gone back and decided to do something instead?

Ramsay also noted that Henry was worried there would be backlash for his decision. Indeed, there was.

There should be a national signing day, and that's it. Once you ink your name on that dotted line, there is no turning back. It will make recruits think more about their decisions and it will give programs and fans alike a definite answer. Then everybody can move on with their lives without the insanity whirling above their heads.

The madness has to stop. 


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