Recruiting giveth...recruiting taketh away
What else can you say? No one who has followed college recruiting really thought that guy was going to Purdue after all of his flirting with UND. You might have hoped for a different ending, but you couldn't have logically believed another ending to this long, drawn-out, overly-dramatic saga.
I said it in a conversation via Twitter earlier today, the commitment of Haas was a bit of a different animal than that of the kid that decided to go play for Notre Dame. Haas didn't draw a line in the sand, with a date by which he had to receive all of his offers...the other guy did.
And when that date came and went, Haas didn't call a press conference to let the world know where he'd be going. The other guy did. Does that matter? It matters to me. It matters especially after I've been told for months about how much of a high character guy the Notre Dame player is. In one of his statements to the press earlier tonight, he even talked about how much he valued Coach Hazell's high character. Character matters...sometimes.
I'm told that Fort Wayne is a pretty big Purdue town...and the Notre Dame player's press conference announcing his Purdue commitment was a joyful one as he gathered with friends and family. Who doesn't love a good party?
Here's the deal, sports fans. Nothing illegal occurred in either of the cases above, but the ethics of both of the processes might be tough for you to swallow. One player had all offers in front of him and changed his mind. The other used one program as leverage to get what he really wanted. You can decide what you think about both players as you dig deeper into the surrounding circumstances, if you'd like.
One thing you might want to decide after watching these cases is not to get too hung up in the soap opera that is college sports recruiting...and don't fall in love with the idea of an athlete who might come to play at Purdue. First off, it's kinda creepy to care that much about a teenager...second, potential is just that until work ethic and circumstance get involved. Plus, until they're signed and on campus, there are no guarantees that they'll be Boilers...and even then things don't always work out. When I spend too much time getting hung up in the recruiting articles (which I have done before), I end up feeling dirtier than I already do...that's no good.
Here's what I hope: I hope Brian Kelly's newest player stays healthy during his career and feels like he made a good decision; I really do. I don't wish him injury...but I do wish him a whole bunch of losing. And while it's not at all likely, I hope he loses at least four specific games during his time in the mecca of Voodoo-Catholic football traditions. One can dream.
Notre Dame's football program is built on a mix of myth, legend and PR-savvy packaging that combine to make many believe that they're morally and academically above the rest of the college football world...when the truth is quite a different story. Seems to me that their newest verbal commitment will fit in quite well. Sometimes character does matter...but in this case, image takes the day.
Hopefully, you won't be too bothered in the coming weeks when a guy who claimed to be a rock-solid commitment to Purdue decides to go play for Oklahoma after the Sooners got involved late in the game.