National Signing Day Rule 1: To Thine Own Self, Be True
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Talk about warped loyalty.
In the constant deck-shuffling that is the world of rung-climbing assistant coaches, there seems to be an emerging code of honor -- ironic term, really -- to withhold news of job shifts until after Day 1 of the recruiting season.
This time around, one player caught it. More than that didn't.
UCLA was all set to sign LB Roquan Smith, a top target out of Macon, Ga. The circus was in town for it, as ESPN set up shop to feature his announcement that he was spreading his wings instead of staying in-state.
But the ceremony ran long. And stuff started popping up. Real reporters can be pesky that way. Seems someone got word that the Bruins' LB coach, Jeff Ulbrich, was on his way to the Atlanta Falcons. Startled, Smith put his future on hold. In the words of his high school coach, Larry Harold:
|That’s what his decision to UCLA came down to – Roquan’s relationship with Ulbrich ... as the difference between UGA and UCLA. He has been there since the first day. Recruiting is about the relationships. It always comes down to the relationships.|
That's on the first page of any sales fundamentals handbook: Customers buy the person before they buy the product.
Clearly, that Keepin' it 100 emoji applied only to Lampkin.
Fellow Texas signee and DL Charles Omenihu stuck the obvious coda to it:
Then there's Ohio State signee RB Mike Weber from Detroit's Cass Tech, selling his soul to That School Just South of There. He drank RB coach Stan Drayton's Kool-Aid, but after the ink was dry on his commitment, he discovered Drayton was off to the Chicago Bears.
Tech coach Thomas Wilcher isn't too warm and fuzzy about it, either:
|[Buckeye coach Urban Meyer] has come to my school and got the No. 1 athlete two years in a row. You cannot come over here, come up to the north, and walk out of here with your pockets full and not give us respect. “That’s not gonna happen again, I call tell you that right now.|
Cass Tech's been a mother lode for college recruits, so Meyer's got a lotta 'splaining to do.
Meanwhile, it's a spot-on life lesson for the kids. Odds are they'll see a few more snake-oil salesmen along life's journey.
Knowledge is power, dude. Beware the alternative.
It's also a double-edged sword. And maybe if more of these kids would choose a school because of the school, they'd be better prepared to learn the difference.