For reasons explained below, I'm going to try my hand at expanded recruiting coverage. Much of what I want to do is modeled somewhat after what Brian does at MGoBlog, because he does a pretty boffo job with recruiting over there (and a much more thorough job than what you'll see from me).
Now, because seven maxims would be a slap in the face of the General, here's
CFAJ's Six Maxims of Recruiting Coverage:
Recruiting is creepy - Unless you are a 16-year-old girl, the act of following and obsessing over the actions, thoughts, and words of 17- and 18-year-old boys is at best very strange and at worst disgusting. So yeah, recruiting is creepy, and the people who exploit the kids for personal profit are the biggest creeps of all (were Dante writing the Inferno today, I like to think he would include a circle where such people have endless piles of cash and nothing to spend it on but grainy game films of kids whose lives they've ruined). It's also creepy according to the first definition: the time between the beginning of the scouting period and National Signing Day inches along. It's one of the reasons following the process will drive you crazy if you let it. So don't let it.
Note - there is a difference between exploiting kids and providing recruiting information. For example, I don't think Rivals or Scout are exploiting anybody.
Recruiting is necessary - My football utopia involves Tennessee being a top-10 program built exclusively on in-state kids showing up in Knoxville and playing their expletives off each and every Saturday because they have lived their whole lives solely for the dream of donning an orange jersey and running through the T. Sadly, that's only a fantasy. The reality is that Tennessee has to reach far and wide for quality football players. That means recruiting -- for Tennessee or any other program -- is necessary.
I think of college football as a constant building project: the history and tradition of the program is the foundation everything is built on. The coaches are carpenters and masons putting everything together. That makes the players the material everything is made of. Shoddy work in any area might go unnoticed for a while, but will undoubtedly hurt long-term quality. Ergo, recruiting.
- Following recruiting, while not necessary, is enjoyable in many ways, so I'm gonna - I realize that one can be a great fan of college football and never read a single word of a recruiting article. I actually admire those who don't give a rip about recruiting, their lives are doubtless much more rich and meaningful for it. I've tried to not care, but it doesn't work for me. If you can, save yourself, it's just too late for me. I've identified at least two reasons I enjoy following recruiting: it makes college football a year-round sport, and it deepens knowledge of the program. So in many ways, I'd rather not be, but I'm in.
- Recruiting is about who you get, not who you don't get - This is something I have to tell myself over and over. Yeah, it sucks when a guy like Patrick Turner or Brandon Warren or Harrison Smith leaves the state to play somewhere else. I kind of feel sorry for those kids, they have to live the rest of their lives knowing they could have gone to UT, but made a poor choice instead. But what's really more important: the guys who don't play for UT or the guys who do? The kids who choose to wear orange are the ones we're going to be living our vicarious dreams through for the next four years, so let's focus on them and not the ones who decide to go elsewhere.
The big dogs are big dogs for a reason. I'm a little dog - Rivals and Scout have excellent coverage of prospects and recruiting. I'm not trying to compete with or replace those by a long shot. In fact I will lean heavily on both for information. I will only quote the information that is public (height, weight, and the schools a kid is interested in, for example). Commitments are by nature public information. I will link to/quote articles that appear in non-subscription sources. I will point out articles in subscriptions sources that I think are particularly interesting, with the notation that the link is premium ($). I will embed YouTube/Google video (and the like) when it appears to be original footage (not ripped from Rivals/Scout) or placed there by a service that wants their video to be available free (CSTV does some of this).
In other words, if it's out there and it's free and I see it, I'll point it out to you (please do likewise for me). If it's premium, get a subscription, ya bum.
In sum - This new recruiting coverage isn't a priority of mine, it's a side project. So don't look to it as a source of breaking news. My purpose in doing this is to give myself a method of following recruits, and because I have this forum to share it in, I will. However, I will not:
- Slam a kid for his college choice (unless it's Florida or Alabama)
- Spread rumors (unless they really seem true)
- Fawn or swoon over any of these guys (unless they're a five star, maybe high-four)
Also, in the spring I won't discuss anyone younger than a junior, in the fall it's all seniors. I'll get to underclassmen when it's their turn in the spotlight. Exceptions to this rule are any sons of Peyton Manning or anyone named Colquitt, they will be added to the board upon birth.
There's the ground rules. I know we've got some recruitniks out there, and I look forward to interacting with you on this stuff. Any comments or suggestions are welcome/ encouraged, you can send a message through the gmail tubes to cornfromajar.