4:49 AM EST, January 1, 2010
LAKE BUENA VISTA
This column was published in January of 2010, a month before National Signing Day
There was a time when decommitting from a college after having originally pledged your services was big news.
"How dare they go against their word," everyone would decry.
Today, decommitting is just part of the process. Players decommit, recommit, and decommit again as if they were checking out the used been at the local CD shop.
Every recruit has his reason for decommitting, and some far more legitimate than others, but it is ultimately the teenagers' decision – yes that's what we're talking about here, teenagers. The same people who can't decide from one week to the next if they like cheese.
It's difficult enough for them to decide which school is going to have the best fit for their future needs. Then throw in all of the coaching changes and broken promises, and the process is even more confusing for these 17- and 18-year-olds.
Urban Meyers' resignation as the Florida coach on Saturday had high school players all over the country dumbfounded and shocked. His decision to take a leave of absence a day later instead of resigning, was certainly relief, but uncertaintly still remains. Florida had two other coaches, defensive coordinator Charlie Strong and receivers coach Billy Gonzales, take other jobs recently, and that furthers the confusion.
Demar Dorsey of Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson was certainly left with uncertainty. He's been a Gators' commitment since October of 2008. Now, however, he says he's just 65 percent sure he'll stick with his commitment.
Then some players are left in the lerch when coaches get fired. Take Ocala Trinity Catholic WR Kadron Boone, for instance. He committed to Texas Tech in September. While practicing for the Under Armour All-American game at ESPN's Wide World of Sports on Wednesday, Boone got word Tech coach Mike Leach had been fired for alleged mistreatment of a player.
"State of shock right now," Boone said. "Leaves lots of worries because I had sat down and talked with him and got a good relationship with him .. now he's fired ..."
And his voice trailed off. He didn't even have words to finish.
Leach was Boone's main recruiter and he's the architect of the Tech spread offense that other coaches are now trying to mimic. The same spread offense that had Boone fired up to become a Red Raider.
"I sat down and talked with him a lot and he schemed up the spread, which is really what caught my attention about the program," Boone said. "Now I'm just taking all of this in and I'll sit down with my parents and figure all this out."
Fortunately for Boone he had not planned to enroll early at Tech, so he does have a little time to make his decision. The firing now opens things back up for Boone, who quite possibly could end up right down the road at the University of Florida, where many thought he was headed to begin with.
"Right now it's too early to say cause I'm still shocked by the news," Boone said. "I have been staying in contact with the other schools though, just in case."
Decommitting could certainly be Boone's future, and who could blame him. Well, fans could, but fans don't really have much perspective or objectivity when it comes to their team.
Kenny Shaw of Orlando Dr. Phillips is one of the few players this recruiting season to wait it out until near the end, and he will unveil his choice on ESPN Saturday during the Under Armour game in St. Petersburg (11 a.m., kickoff).
"It's benefitted me a lot," Shaw said about waiting. "It gave some people on the edge more of a chance. Like I wanted to commit to Florida, but then this whole Urban Meyer thing came up, so I think it was a good decision to wait."
Shaw says the Meyer news last weekend will not affect his decision, and he's been leaning Florida State all along, but he did say that had he committed earlier, he could be faced with a difficult choice now.
"I know one in d-tackle Corey Miller who's going to Tennessee," Shaw said of the South Carolina product who had originally committed to FSU. "He had recruited me hard to go to FSU … but you know, things happen for a reason."
TE Brent Barker had a good reason to decommit Stanford. He had a conundrum with which most people would like to be faced. He committed to Stanford this past summer, but when the Cambridge, Mass., native found out that he was accepted at Harvard, the decision was made for him.
"I had a great realationship with all the coaches at Stanford .. it was hard to tell them, and hard to tell coaches at other schools, quite honestly," Barker said. "But I say do what's best for you and don't let anyone sway your decision. Everyone is going to have their own opinions, but in the end it's going to be what you are going to have to do for four or five years."
Chris Hays is recruiting coordinator for the Orlando Sentinel. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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