I recently read an article in the Dayton paper that commended some Dayton area high school football players for receiving “offers” from Alabama and Nick Saban. Not only up and down I-75, but across the state, “offers” are out there and more seem to going out every day.
An “offer” is an invitation from a college football program to a high school football player to come to their university to play football. The beginnings of a college scholarship. A non-binding oral agreement.
First, and, PLEASE, this is not a negative blog. Getting an offer to attend a college speaks well for the football recruit. He has done well enough in playing football to merit the offer. He must be impressive on HUDL. He must pass the “eyeball” test. He must have been impressive in talking with the college coach. He has an “offer.”
Regardless, the high school player should be happy, the parents should be happy, his coach should be happy, and the school should be happy. Of course, internet football recruiting media should be happy, because the more offers, the more material to write about.
The sad thing about early offers is that a player cannot really make a commitment to the offer. If a player wanted to commit at that moment, he would be told to wait, or worse – be turned down.
Most offers to prospects are not necessarily meaningless, but I worry just how serious that they are meant to be. Granted, many offers are the real deal, the “truth.” But, I am afraid that many more offers are a way for colleges to stay in the game. Or a way to not lose any ground to other schools. “Keep our name on your list” thinking.
Another positive – Maybe the “offer” is not committable at the moment, but if the school stays on the prospect’s list, the early offer may pay off later in recruiting.
Most offers may go like this – ” We are offering you a scholarship, but you have to come to camp and do well. After camp, we will talk about you in a staff meeting.”
“We are offering you a scholarship, as long as you keep your grades up and do well in your classes. No discipline problems.”
“We are offering you a scholarship, as long as do well in school and stay out of trouble outside of school time.”
These three examples also give the college coach an “out,” or some flexibility. If a recruit wants to commit on the spot, the college coach says that the offer is based on certain conditions. If a prospect has missed some classes or gotten into some trouble, the coaching staff has another “out.” Conditions not met.
Sometimes “offers” go out to prospects before camp, or before they have been closely evaluated by a college coaching staff. For fear of falling behind other schools, the staff may have to “throw out” an offer. Sometimes, before a total thorough evaluation is made, other schools have thrown out “offers,” and now the coaching staff is behind and may lose out. Another reason for the “offer” to be bogus.
Colleges have to “offer” to get their foot in the door, so to speak, and then finish evaluating him. College coaches can use an early offer, even though the evaluation is not complete, to their advantage. If the college staff loses out on some other prospects, they can always go back to the recruit, reminding him that they were the first to offer. Sometimes this works.
I guess that “collecting offers” is okay, but I really do not support it. High school prospects try to see who can collect the most “offers.” Of course, it is just a game, but sometimes the prospect leads the college coach on, just to get an offer, with no intentions of even considering it. Dishonest.
College coaches play games with each other in the early “offer” game. Not fun games, but more like dirty games. For example, the head coach of a larger, high-profile SEC school, with great tradition, throws out some “offers” to some good prospects in Ohio. Does he do that, to play games with the head coach of a large, high-profile Big Ten school, with great tradition? Or, is he serious about the “offers.” My hope is that he is serious about the ability and potential of the Ohio kids.
A few years ago, I questioned a MAC coach on why they offered a certain prospect who was not good enough to play in the Mid American Conference. His comment – “Well, Bowling Green offered him, so we had to for the sake of public perception.”
Just two weeks ago, I questioned a D1 school on why they gave a college prospect an “offer.” Answer – “Well, the AD has come close connections to the school, so we thought that it was necessary.”
Four years ago, a freshman high school quarterback received an “offer” while he was in a college football camp. The offer was from the head coach at the university. I thought that it was the wrong move then and still do. The QB flipped his commitment after his senior season and is going to another school. The early “offer” should have never happened.
I am well aware that offering high school players earlier and earlier is almost the norm, and maybe a college coach has to offer players earlier and earlier. Probably and maybe and ??, he will not get the prospect, because the other football staffs have already “offered” him.
Bottom line – Despite the dark side of early offers, a high school player must be doing a good job, to even be considered for an “offer.” A “chest-bump” to the player!