I'M SURE we're all familiar with the various adjectives often used to describe the recruiting game.
From fickle to inexact, they're pretty much all accurate.
For when it comes to recruiting high school football players to ply their trade at the next level - whether it be junior college, Division I, or anywhere in between - nobody ever knows for sure just what the future holds. The example people in this area are most familiar with is the story behind the recruitment of former Southern Miss quarterback Brett Favre. The story goes that the only schools actively recruiting Favre were Southern Miss and Delta State, and that the Southern Miss was the only school to offer him a scholarship. Even then, the Golden Eagles didn't want him as a quarterback, but rather as a defensive back. Not only did one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play at the highest level - the NFL - almost get passed up by every college program in the country, but the one (ONE!) that did give him a shot, wanted him to defend wide receivers rather than throw to them. It's that story, and many others like it, that keeps me from raising my eyebrows every time I hear about an athlete struggling to get the attention of college coaches and scouts. It happens all the time, and this year is no different. Names like Thamaz Taylor (Purvis), Brandon Acker (Hattiesburg), and Devontae and Austin Watts (Sumrall) have been wowing their respective hometown fans for years. Yet, halfway through their senior year, they continue to wait. Sure, those guys are being recruited. College coaches check in on them from time to time, but the offers just haven't materialized. Now, does this mean they won't for these guys and many others in the area? Of course not. It's entirely possible that Acker picks up an offer in November or December. Same goes for Taylor and the Watts cousins. My question is, what haven't college coaches seen out of these guys that they need to see in order to pull the trigger? Obviously, I know that recruiting is a sensitive, fluid game. College coaches recruit many players, and they've only got a certain number of scholarships they can offer. So as the weeks go by, recruiters will start narrowing down their list of prospects, and that's when the offers usually start going out. Aside from the aforementioned group of Pine Belt standouts, there's no shortage of local players getting a fair amount of attention from college programs. North Forrest offensive lineman Dallas Carter has offers from Alcorn State and Belhaven, while also being recruited by Southern Miss, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, and Louisiana-Lafayette. Jalen Haskin and Chris Schneider (also North Forrest players) have seen some interest from a few schools, too, just no offers yet. Lumberton's Keshod Willis is having a great season for the Panthers. Bassfield linebacker James Graves is being recruited by a plethora of schools, but according to Scout.com - no offers. Recruiting is an inexact science. It's a game that often leads to confusion and disappointment for the recruits. So here's my advice to those frustrated by their recruitment or lack thereof - go back and read the first seven sentences of this column. And keep your head up.