One college football player’s tweet called the hype surrounding the high school recruiting process into question. Is it on the mark?
I was so bored Monday morning, waiting to be called into a jury panel at the county courthouse, that I was scanning the walls in hopes of finding some fresh paint I could watch dry. I didn’t want to kill my phone’s battery before anything happened, so I spent a decent amount of time staring at a TV switching off between instructions for us all and Wimbledon.
But when I did pull out my phone to check Twitter, I stumbled upon a tweet that was gaining some steam and gave me something constructive to think about while I had several hours to dwell on it. University of Georgia running back Brian Herrien had teed off on the college football recruiting extravaganza Sunday night, and by the time I saw it Monday morning, it had been retweeted nearly 1,000 times. It’s since surpassed that mark and then some.
“I didn’t have 3 or 4 or 5 stars nor did I care to get them, or attend those 247/rivals, opening camps,” Herrien tweeted. “I played on my football team and made it to Georgia with 0 stars, after I signed to Georgia they put me on rivals and gave me 3 stars… stars & camps don’t matter.”
It’s kind of hard to argue against that tweet at face value. Herrien did make it to the highest level of his sport besides the NFL with no stars and nowhere near the hype of those who dominate the headlines of Rivals and 24/7 sites. Scouts among all sports will sometimes visit a program with interest in one specific athlete and leave with someone completely new in mind after being impressed. Coaches will often tell you, as they’ve often told me, that you will be found by some program if you’re willing to work hard no matter where you’re playing. I’ve seen enough to know that’s true.
I couldn’t blame you for saying Herrien totally hit the nail on the head. I mostly agree with him. As much fun as the recruiting scene can be to follow, it’s also grown to the point where people really believe they need to be ranked, to get those stars, to get noticed by anyone. It wasn’t that long ago that a walk-on won a Heisman and is now an effective starting quarterback in the NFL.
I do miss the days before the star system got so popular, before social media made it really easy for randos with dog avatars on the wrong end of the bell curve of crazy to tweet at and direct message high school kids about committing to their favorite programs. I know I’ve written before that the last thing these kids want and need to hear is that they’re less than human for committing the cardinal sin of turning down Tennessee for Florida. Being more informed than ever about high school’s rising stars comes with that price.
What I’m not going to do is issue a takedown of anything but those folks who are crazy enough to think their opinions should really matter to those athletes. As much of a dog and pony show as the recruiting scene can be, there really is value in it.
If your goal is to become a four or five-star recruit and have a nice, open set of options at hand, the system’s set up in such a way to help you track your progress easily. And of course, all the extra work you put in at camps, tournaments and the like doesn’t hurt. If your goal is to get your name out there and be the kind of athlete that gets some run on ESPN from time to time, shoot for those stars. There are plenty of programs and coaches out there than can make you better and help you get that edge on the competition. If you have the resources to attend these camps and events, to work with these offseason programs, to put yourself out there and boost your chances of going to your dream school, why not take the plunge?
Just know that, even if the stars don’t come and the eyes of recruiting bloggers across America don’t land on your Hudl page or Twitter account, all is not lost. You can still end up at a great program, like Herrien did, so long as you’re willing to put in work every day.