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There’s Nothing Wrong With Offering A Scholarship To An 8th Grader

gfx - honest opinionAt first blush, the idea of handing a college scholarship offer over to a middle school player is absurd.  Year after year former 5-star high school players wash out of college football programs because they’ve failed to develop physically or mentally as college coaches had once projected and hoped.  Predicting the development path of a middle-schooler would obviously be even more difficult.

That hasn’t stopped coaches from chasing younger and younger prospects.

While at Tennessee, Lane Kiffin reportedly offered a scholarship to then-13-year-old Evan Berry, the brother of current NFL safety Eric Berry.  Upon landing at Southern Cal, Kiffin grabbed a commitment from then-13-year-old quarterback David Sills.  Now 16, Sills is wrapping up his sophomore year of high school and is still committed to the Trojans.

Ex-Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie took heat in 2008 for coaxing commitments out of then-15-year-olds Michael Avery (now at Sonoma State) and Vinny Zollo (now at Furman).  Myles Brand — the NCAA president at the time — said the recruitment of middle-schoolers is “nothing we want to be widespread.”

Last summer, LSU’s Les Miles offered a scholarship to a Baton Rouge eighth-grader-to-be named Dylan Moses.  Nick Saban did the same at Alabama’s Junior Day this past Saturday.  Saban and Alabama are on top of the football world at the moment so the Tide’s offer to Moses is getting much more ink than Miles’ offer.

Moses’ father Edward said of his 6-1, 215-pound son:

 

“For Dylan, excitement spilled over.  When he heard those words from Coach Saban, ‘We’re offering you,’ you could see him light up.  It was shocking because we were going in thinking we were just going to get a tour of what Alabama has to offer.

To hear, ‘You’re impressive, keep your grades up, we want you to come here, and we’re offering you a scholarship now,’ I can even put that into words.”

 

But is this kind of thing good for a young man who’s still three years away from driving?  That depends on the teen, his parents, and his upbringing.  There are countless stories of young players — not necessarily eight-graders, mind you — who failed to live up to expectations… or who allowed high expectations to go to their heads.

But there have also been success stories.  You might have heard of a kid named Tiger Woods who showed off his golfing skills to Mike Douglas at the ripe old age of two.  Two!

So long as the coach offering up an early scholarship honors his end of the bargain — a huge if if you follow recruiting — then this one gets a thumbs-up from MrSEC.com.  But that’s the rub.  If Moses turns out to be mediocre high school player for some reason, we would be very surprised if Alabama or LSU still has a spot for him come National Signing Day 2017.  That would also be true if he were currently a high school junior, too.  Scholarship offers have a funny way of disappearing after poor on-field/on-court performances.

In the end, most players and families should know that there’s nothing binding about an offer.  Only a signed scholarship has value.

And for schools chasing kids who’ve barely cleared puberty, what’s to lose?  If the kid fails to develop into a top college prospect, his scholarship offer will go bye-bye.  If he does turn into a star then the school will have gotten an early leg up on rival schools’ recruiting efforts.

It seems ridiculous to make these kinds of offers to middle school kids, absolutely, but in the end it’s really nothing more than a recruiting ploy.

 

In case you haven’t seen highlights of Moses in action, check out #2 in the video below:

"2012 U-HIGH CUBS" Dylan Moses #2

 


11 comments
Mozarks
Mozarks

Then I guess there would be nothing wrong with offering AJ McCarron's offspring while still in the womb?

KingBiscuit2112
KingBiscuit2112

@MrSEC Except for the fact of how ridiculous it is, I guess nothing.

harrisonplease
harrisonplease

@MrSEC The only way to know is to see how he actually performs when he plays in college. If hes great, their geniuses. if not, their dunces

BTowles1
BTowles1

@MrSEC it's hilarious that Saban asks "is this what we want college FB to be" when talking up tempo offenses and then he does this.

Nutz4seabrook
Nutz4seabrook

It is stupid. Look it, colleges and the NFL agreed that kids would have to wait three years before they NFL takes them. Now colleges can recruit an 11 or 12  year old. Do they think they are doing anyone a favor? It puts immediate pressure on the schools to pass him from grade to grade - regardless of his academic capabilities. Imagine what would happen if a teacher fails hims and he does not get promoted. Everyone will be all over the teacher. This will not play out well - just watch

I4Bama
I4Bama

Given that the offer can be rescinded at any moment and that the player cannot ink it until at least four years from now, this is roughly the equivalent of having a donation made to the human fund in your honor by George Castanza.

atnvol
atnvol

Not really a big deal....as John says, "its just recruiting". If anything, it might offer the young man plenty of incentive to stay on the straight and narrow and provide some self esteem. Sounds like a win-win if handled with reason.

 

Regards, Mike

MrSEC
MrSEC

@KingBiscuit2112 Ridiculous? Yes. Wrong? No. Such early offers mean bupkes and hopefully kids and their families know it.

Nutz4seabrook
Nutz4seabrook

The Tiger Woods comparison is so stupid it is beyond description. Look at how his personal life train wrecked and how that impacted his game. He needed intense therapy for his addictions. I suspect much of the time was spent working thru his missed childhood and wanting to please his father.

KingBiscuit2112
KingBiscuit2112

@MrSEC Point taken. How about ANOTHER rule saying beginning of JR year before schools can offer. Talk about getting the big head.

Nutz4seabrook
Nutz4seabrook

Let children be children!!!! An 11, 12, 13, 14 year old is a child. Think about what you were like at that age!

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