The Prospector: Recruiting process has hit the accelerator, NCAA needs to do same

“In years past, we’ve always concentrated on guys that were seniors, maybe possibly a junior or two here or there, but now it’s accelerating to where you’re looking at sophomores,” Beckton said. “[We’re] pulling transcripts on those guys, [seeing] if they’re academically set to go with the new NCAA standards coming down the pipes. We ask the coaches when we go in there, ‘Coach, who are the young guys in your program?’ That question never came up three years ago. That’s the nature of the adjustment we have to make as college football coaches.”

And it all adds up to why Orlando Timber Creek junior running back Jacques Patrick had more than 30 verbal FBS scholarship offers before he even completed his sophomore year of high school. As schools try to position themselves earlier in the process, recruiting is headed toward the middle-school level.

These are the kinds of things that have sent the football recruiting process spiraling toward an out-of-control frenzy. The NCAA needs to step up and take reform measures or it's going to be too late.

The problem right now, however, is that the NCAA does not know where to begin. Setting standards for things like Twitter and Facebook contact tomorrow  could be out of date by next week. We saw it happen with texting. The NCAA  put up a road-block on that avenue, only to watch Facebook communication take off. Now it's Twitter. 

Who knows what it will be tomorrow, but rest assured, it will be something and the NCAA will have its usual knee-jerk reaction to policing if it does not get a grasp on the future. 

College basketball and the AAU free-for-all gave the NCAA a blueprint for what  disaster looks like. It's time to learn from that and step to the drawing board for new reform that will make sense for today and tomorrow.

For now, however, coming to a Pop Warner practice near you might well be Nick Saban or Urban Meyer

Alabama has reportedly already made a verbal offer to Louisiana eighth-grader Dylan Moses, and there are others.

Eighth-grade phenom Tyreke Johnson of Jacksonville's Trinity Christian School claims offers from Vanderbilt and FAU. He talked recently about his lack of an offer from Florida State, where his brother, Jacksonville First Coast QB De'Andre Johnson, has committed to the 2015 recruiting class.

"I have been kind of wondering what's taken so long," said Johnson.

The earlier and deeper the coaches are allowed to delve into the lives of youngsters, the more room it creates for corruption by ne'er-do-wells, street agents and hangers-on.

It's too late to wake up and smell the coffee. It's time to clean up what's already boiled over.

 

Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at chays@tribune.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.

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