The notion that an eighteen year-old male’s collegiate decision could impact your view of your alma mater seems silly. It is anything but to a legion of college football recruiting sadists who live and die regularly with the whims of guys who equate their decision to play for Lane Kiffin or Nick Saban on par with whether or not to participate in Senior Skip Day. They’re kids and although supremely talented, the influx of attention as a result of online services hounding them for quotes means their initial commitments don’t always stick.
Sometimes, the team lands a player at the same position and the competition allows an outlet for a prospect to head elsewhere. Perhaps a choice occurred too quickly and the allure of regional comfort or a childhood favorite wins out in February. At worst, a school with southern fervor swoops in with a higher bid that a lurking uncle is all too eager to accept. Decommits happen on every campus. So which ones, players who have yet to take a college snap, might implode the athletic department on itself?
Robert Nkemdiche: Clemson
The top prospect in the class shocked anyone following his recruitment when he pledged to Dabo Swinney‘s Tigers. Since, he’s worked to get his high school teammates offers and publicized his intent to officially visit other schools. Prior to ending his pursuit, the elite defensive lineman’s signature appeared to be a battle between Alabama and LSU. His brother plays for Ole Miss, he’s mentioned USC and Oregon and the combination of those interested parties mean Clemson has reason to worry. Does he stick? If his current head coach receives a position coaching job and his mom becomes Vice President of Student Affairs, ‘ole Dabo’s got nothing to worry about.
Max Browne: USC
He’s as close to a lock to remain a Trojan as possible but what might Lane Kiffin do in a fit of recruiting rage? Punch his dad, wrestle Ed Oregeron in mud or wonder if Matt Barkley is free for a beer? Limited scholarships at USC would seem to keep the Trojans safe in the event of a decommitment as offering a high school senior the position of The Quarterback in Los Angeles is a tad tempting. But Browne’s tools fit Kiffin’s offense almost perfect and losing that is bad news for Monte Kiffin. The Trojans’ coaching staff string him up and pelt him with tomatoes when Lane is ticked.
Reuben Foster: Auburn
The Tigers stole the fantastic middle linebacker from Iron Bowl rival Alabama. He sports an Auburn logo tattoo. In a state where Harvey Updyke’s antics actually happened, what if Nick Saban hired the best removal artist booster money could buy? Foster’s ink has the potential to be a better story in 2012 than any pen I put to paper.
Kendall Fuller: Virginia Tech
Three older brothers suited up or currently play for the Hokies. If the disappointment of never landing the right head coaching job wasn’t enough for defensive coordinator Bud Foster, losing a 5-star corner might finish the follow-through of the groin kick. As Florida State continues a ravenous recruiting pace, Virginia Tech can’t rely on coaching ‘em up forever. Signing guys like Fuller is the difference between boring Sugar Bowl losses and national title runs.
Dorian Johnson: Penn State
Yeah, this one’s pretty self-explanatory to Bill O’Brien, you the reader and Frederick Felon sharing the same cell block as Jerry Sandusky.
Shane Morris: Michigan
I’ve never witnessed a fan base ask more questions on recruiting sites as the Wolverine faithful do for their 2013 quarterback. He’s a lefty, a stud and a probable Big Ten champion at some point in the next four years. But Jesus, his every throw at a random summer camp in Wichita won’t elevate his star ranking. If Morris were to reconsider his choice, I’m certain Michigan recruitniks might crucify Rich Rodriguez for the second time.