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Monday, August 22, 2011
Recruit X: Star player on secret world of recruiting

By ESPNHS

As told to Mike Grimala

It seems like every week there’s a new story coming out about scandals in college football. Oregon just played for a national championship, and now there are reports that they paid thousands of dollars to a guy who got players to commit there.

It’s not surprising to me. I’ve heard that happens at a lot of schools. No one has ever tried to get me to commit to a college in exchange for money, but I’ve seen it happen in different ways.

I’ve been on college visits where they do certain things to let you know what you can have. Like, they’ll make sure they walk you past the parking lot where the players’ cars are, just so you can see the nice cars they’re driving. One time, a coach even tried to throw in a little joke, like, “Hey, you can be driving one of these, and your parents can too.”

It was supposed to sound like a joke, but you could tell he was being serious. So they don’t come right out and say it, but there are ways for a school to let you know they’re willing to pay to get you there.

I’ve gone on visits where they leave it up to the current players to recruit me. They have host players who show you around, and they’ll tell you the kind of car you can drive if you go to that school. You can tell the coaches tell them what to say, because they sound exactly alike.

And one thing every single school tries to sell you is females. Every host player says the same thing: “We have the best girls here, and they love football players. You can have a really good time here.”

I don’t think I would ever let something like money or cars influence my decision, but it’s hard to say. You may want to go to school for the right reasons, but if your family is struggling and they put the money out there in front of you, what are you going to do? If you tell a 17-year-old kid that he can have a brand new car and $20,000, that’s going to get stuck in his head.

I have to say though, not every school is like that. There are a lot of schools where the coaches are straight up with you, and those were the ones I liked the best. I don’t want a coach lying to me and saying I can play right away when I can easily look at their roster and see three experienced players coming back at my position.

But no one really talks about the good schools that are following the rules. The stories you hear the most are the ones about dirty programs. And that’s why it doesn’t make sense to me. For any school that wants to break rules, it just doesn’t seem worth it because it always comes out. Players talk. No one’s going to keep those secrets forever.

That’s why I tried to stay away from those schools. No matter how tempting it may be to take advantage of what they’re offering, it’s not a good deal. It will always come back to haunt you.

Recruit X is a Class of 2012 player ranked in the ESPNU 150. He agreed to speak to ESPNHS anonymously.