Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Leon Jackson: Victim of Recruiting Hype

In a not-so-surprising development, Leon Jackson has decided to transfer from Nebraska after spending his first year bouncing between running back, safety, receiver, and back to running back. This shouldn't be a surprise; Jackson showed his frustration last fall. Was this the right decision for Jackson and Nebraska? Yes and no. No, because you'd like to see a player with his talents stay on at Nebraska. However, if he's really unhappy, it's a good thing that he's leaving now rather than sit and mope. Best for him to move on. Will he be successful elsewhere? Perhaps, though the odds are stacked against him. Occasionally, players who transfer find success elsewhere -- see Zac Taylor. But more often than not, the player doesn't find the success he expected elsewhere either.

Do I blame Jackson? Not really; he's still a kid and still learning.

I blame the hype machine, fed by the Recruiting industry. Tom Lemming, a recruiting analyst for, even admits the monster they've created:
"They're built up so much by these Web sites that they feel like they've got to play or they're a disappointment. These Web sites have made these kids superstars before they ever get to college."
And, as Jackson's high school coach, Steve Graff says, they take these player's ego for a ride.

Recruitniks take these rankings as a guarentee that these players simply can't miss; the rankings are the end-all/be-all final word on the worthiness of a player. But oh-so-wrong. Even Lemming admits that half of these "blue-chippers" don't pan out, and even those that do usually take two or three years to develop.

Just more proof that these recruiting experts are irrelevant and mostly make-believe.

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