Kalani Simpson


By Kalani Simpson

Surviving the
frenzy of recruiting

AH, recruiting ...

Imagine you're one of these kids being offered everything, here, there, all these great places, all these cool coaches. Teams you've seen on TV, or the hometown squad that you've heard about since before you could walk.

And the possibilities are endless, everything before you, and everyone has something to say. Aunties, uncles, family, coaches, friends, for sure everybody at school. Go here! Go there! Your head has to be spinning, information overload.

Maybe a school is near family. Or away from family. Or has cool colors, or the right offense or better academics for something you think you might be interested in, four years from now.

Or another tells you you can play right away.

(They all tell you you can play right away.)

You can see yourself in every hat.

And you're not sure what to do yet. How can you be?

This is a big decision.

There are people out there who can't decide what to have for dinner.

This is for the rest of your life. These are endless possibilities.

And the time keeps ticking, Feb. 5 closing in.

And people keep calling. And asking.

And maybe, sometimes, you just let them hear what they want to hear.

IMAGINE YOU'RE ONE of these coaches. On the road, working, writing, calling. Making contacts (but not illegally!), keeping track of who, where.

That extra postcard.

That home visit.

The big weekend.

The rules. The stress.

Imagine so much emotion tied into getting that one guy, or two, that you just know is going to be a player. If he comes, you just know that everything is going to turn out all right. It turns a class around, turns a team around.

Imagine looking up at that big board with all those names, the celebration when you've got the ones you want.

The one that got away.

Of course, June Jones seems to have the right temperament for all of this: If they come, they come. If they don't, they don't.


The laid-back approach to recruiting.

But then, Jones is in Samoa as we speak. And he's had some very good recruiting classes, and this one is shaping up.

So he must get into it more than he lets on.

THESE ARE THE final, frenzied weeks. Reporters call, check back, and call again. The Internet sizzles. Commitments line up. Names come out of nowhere. Scholarships open up as other guys go to other schools.

The student-athletes could make decisions at any time.

It's all very exciting.

But my favorite time is the due date, Feb. 5, the Letter of Intent national holiday, when it's all over. This is the best day. Everyone catches their breath. Everyone beams with pride. Every recruiting class is a great one. And every name on that list is a winner.

Kalani Simpson can be reached at

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