Black Side of the Divide – Hey Campbell… Swipe Right Again

Story by Derek Pech

If recruiting in college football were as simple as letting a gal on Tinder know that you’re interested in “courting” her then Matt Campbell and his coaching staff would be swiping right constantly. In fact, I would be curious what it takes for them to swipe left…

First things first, I have to give a shout out to @zdavenport18 for the analogy because it is spot on:

Blair Sanderson, of Rivals, sent out a tweet last night that updated all of us on the current number of scholarship offers that all college football programs in Power 5 conferences currently have out for the 2018 class. Here is Blair’s tweet:

That’s right. Your eyes are not deceiving you. The Iowa State football program reminds me of that old college buddy who would hit on any and every female at the bar, and then try taking home the first one who is drunk enough to respond or show him some attention. That is the Cyclones philosophy here.

Now you can make the argument that this strategy works. Actually you can make a pretty decent argument that it works. The college buddy of mine that I’m thinking of certainly had some success with his recruiting strategy (albeit no one I know was jealous of the recruits he was hauling in). I guess it’s just the way it looks that bothers me more than anything.

This brings me back to the comments Brian Ferentz made a few months ago while doing a podcast with the Des Moines Register.

“The guys in Ames and the new guy in Minneapolis seem to have no problem throwing early things out. What I’ve learned, certainly about the guys in Ames, we’ll find out about the guys in Minneapolis, what does an offer really mean? Ferentz said.

“I can tell you this much, if the University of Iowa offers you a scholarship and you commit to us, we intend to sign you and we intend to take your commitment. I think you have to look no further than in-state to see there were a lot of offers that went out in the 2018 class very early out of Ames. And I’m not sure all of those guys were able to commit to them if they wanted to, because some of those guys have since gone other places.”

Hmmm. Let’s think about those comments for a second. If you go back and look at the numbers Blair shared with the world Iowa State leads all Power 5 programs with a whopping 388 offers out for the 2018 class. Iowa has just 118. A few spots below Iowa sits Stanford at a shockingly low number of 32.

Now, hypothetically speaking of course, if you are a recruit and you get an offer from Iowa State (who doesn’t hold one apparently?), Iowa, and Stanford then you have to look at those numbers and ask yourself exactly what Brian Ferentz said. What do those offers mean?

  • Iowa State offered 387 other kids. With those numbers it is safe to say they’ve offered many other players at the very same position you intend to play in college. There’s only 11 positions on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. That’s 22 positions total not counting special teams. That means on average they have about 17 offers out at each position. Wowza.
  • Iowa has 117 other offers out. That’s about 5 offers per position on offense and defense. They’ve probably offered a few other players at your position, but that’s understandable given their needs.
  • Then you have Stanford. They only have 32 offers out total! That’s insane to me, but they are in a position to be extremely picky given the opportunity that going to their school and playing for their football program presents to recruits. It’s elite athletically and academically. It’s an opportunity that most would be pretty stupid to turn down.

Again, the point that Brian Ferentz was trying to make is what do these offers mean? There was absolutely a strategy behind Brian coming out in public in order to make these comments. He’s wanting to get in recruits ears. He’s wanting to make sure they are thinking about these things. His point absolutely has validity, and these kids need to think about it.

Are you just another floozy in a long line of floozies? Or are you a gem? Are your skills, your abilities, your leadership, your work ethic, and your character truly wanted by all of the programs that are recruiting you or are they just selling you something that they may back out on at a later date when someone else whom they view as a bigger fish ends up on their hook?

This conversation is all about commitment. They are asking for your commitment, but the real question you have to ask yourself is this: If you extend the commitment that they are ever-so-stubbornly looking for, are they as committed to you as you are to them?

Think about it.


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