Alabama assistant Jeremy Pruitt allegedly pushed one of Alabama's 2013 recruits to transfer from Pensacola, FL to Foley HS in Alabama because they "could take care of him academically." The recruit actually transferred to Foley yesterday for his senior year right after fall football camp started. Pruitt worked together with Foley HS head coach Todd Watson at Hoover HS in the 2000s. In order for him to be eligible to play football this year, his entire family had to move to Foley (Alabama) school district from Florida. I'm sure this is all on the up and up.
I think we are going to end up seeing a lot more of this in the future with the looming changes in the NCAA eligibility requirements in 2016. If you haven't heard about these changes, this ESPN article breaks it down pretty well:
Some schools or handlers are going to start pushing borderline recruits to transfer earlier in HS to feeder high schools to get them eligible through shady grades.
The New York Times just published an interesting article about 7 on 7 football and draws comparisons between it and AAU basketball. Obviously, there are significant differences, most notably that 7 on 7 isn't actual football. However, private teams can be lead by dubious characters attempting to become so-called "street agents" and influence players' recruitment.
“I’m sure that it’s hurt us on some players,” (Mack) Brown said. “But I also feel like until everything gets legitimized, I don’t want a player on our team who I don’t know who the parents are. I don’t know who he’s listening to. If you get an agent involved in your program, then he’s involved. That scares me. I worry some about the street agents.”
Obviously Oregon may have been helped by, or perhaps screwed by a couple of street agent types recently. Recruiting is already a filthy business that I largely avoid, although it's mostly because I could never keep that many 18 year-olds' whims straight, but the rise of 7 on 7 with corporate sponsors like Nike and Under Armour promises to make it even worse--especially with gems like these from the coach of The Express, one of the prominent teams:
Asked if college coaches needed to court their seven-on-seven counterparts the way they talked to high school coaches, Drummond said, “They better.”
“I think it’s just as important as high school football,” Drummond said of seven-on-seven. “It makes recruiting easier. You don’t have to search for coaches; they search for you.”
I really doubt 7 on 7 could rise to the level of import in recruiting for football like AAU does in basketball because players still need to succeed playing actual football games with linemen and tackling, but it just promises to make a dirty part of the game even worse. I'm sure a lot of the 7 on 7 coaches aren't going to be interested in riding buses with 20 18 year-olds for the love of passing drills...
From North Miami Beach High School coach Jeff Bertani:
“The street agents are now going by the terms of seven-on-seven coaches,” he said, referring to no one in particular. “Before, these guys were advisers and mentors. Now they can say, ‘I’m coaching the team.’ ”
The OZone, proud publishers of Michigan Monday, crunched the numbers and determined Arkansas has signed 30(!) more recruits than OSU has going into the Sugar Bowl.
According to Dr Saturday, this is the largest discrepancy of the bowl season, but the 8 of 10 SEC bowl teams has signed at least 10 more players over the previous four seasons than their opponent, including:
huge margins for Mississippi State (+20 over Michigan), Alabama (+22 over Michigan State) and Auburn (+19 over Oregon). The Bulldogs, Crimson Tide and Tigers have all signed upwards of 110 players in four years, meaning at least 25 of those signees in each case – the equivalent of a full recruiting class – had to wash out in one fashion or another to get those rosters in under the NCAA's 85-scholarship limit this year.
This is an obvious advantage for SEC teams. Miss St has essentially signed five recruiting classes over the past four seasons--leaving them many more chances to have players be successful. The NCAA really needs to step in here to create a level playing field.