Friday, May 11, 2007

Some of the McKnight fallout

For those of you who don't follow recruiting, Louisiana produced an incredibly good crop of college football recruits last year. It was good at the top, and it was deep. LSU's recruiting class as a result was one of the best in the nation.

There was a downside though. The very best prospect in the state, and according to one publication the very best in the country, chose to sign with USC rather than LSU. He announced his decision on National Signing Day. His name is Joe McKnight.

Among the many (many) things this caused, it caused bad feelings between LSU supporters and the head coach of his high school football team. He has been accused of deliberately pushing the kid away from LSU. One variation on this story is that while he did not deliberately push the kid away from LSU, he didn't deliberately push him towards LSU either.

Personally, I don't think it's right for a high school football coach to "push" a kid anywhere, whether it's to the state school or away from the state school. It just isn't the right thing to do. It isn't right for a high school coach to pressure a kid to make such a big decision based on how it helps or hurts the coach.

Am I suggesting that a kid's high school coach should stay out of this process? No, I am not. The coach can feel free to give the kid the benefit of his years of experience in the business. He can give the kid the benefit of his knowledge of the coaches in question and the feedback of other kids who may have gone to the same institution. He can be a guide. He shouldn't be a svengali. If I may use yet another metaphor, he should not be a puppetmaster pulling the kid's strings.

Having a high school football coach run a kid's life into adulthood is even worse than when a parent does it, and parents shouldn't do it either.

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