Roquan Smith's coach slams player's internet critics

Submitted by Doughboy1917 on February 8th, 2015 at 2:34 AM

Roquan Smith's coach Larry Harold tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that recruits are sold on coaches, so when coaches don't reveal they're leaving a school, recruits have every right to be upset.

“When you get recruited by Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, Oregon and all these top schools – when you go visit them, they all have nice football facilities. They have good academic centers and beautiful campuses. Everything is basically the same everywhere. So what separates them? You know what the coaches sell those kids on? ‘That it’s about the people and the relationships.’ That’s all they sell the kids on."

He also slams internet posters critical of decisions by Smith and other recruits.

“I’m really, really, really getting upset because there are grown men sitting behind a computer commenting on stuff that they know nothing about."

And he's absolutely right. About all of it. It's an interesting read. The article also mentions similar situations from this year's NSD, including Mike Weber's committment to OSU.




February 8th, 2015 at 4:47 AM ^

I would like to see the NCAA add an opt-out clause but I don't see it happening. One of the major schools needs to add their own clause to their LOI's saying that if your position coach, DC/OC or head coach leaves within X amount of time you can opt out. This would pressure other schools to follow suit.

I think it is possible you see the Power 5 pass something but still not very likely.

You might get a decommit here or there but overall I think you would see the overall commit talent go up as more kids wouldn't be hesitant to go there.

I think if Michigan had this clause Weber signs with us and then feels a huge sigh of relief when he sees osu's coach bolt, pure speculation though.


February 8th, 2015 at 6:29 AM ^

That's not going to solve the problem because the coaches that leave will just wait until X+1 days to announce they are leaving.  The time between signing day and the beginning of spring football is a slow period.  Whether the X days is one day, one week, or two weeks is not going to make much of a difference.

Kermits Blue Key

February 8th, 2015 at 6:42 AM ^

North Carolina has a law where people have three days after signing a contract during which they can back out with no penalty. I wonder if this applies to NLI's in the state as well?


February 8th, 2015 at 6:57 AM ^

Michigan has this too called the Lemon Law but I'm not sure it applies to employment contracts, I think it only applies to vehicles. It was started here to protect people who bought cars and found problems within the first few days so now you have 72 hours to back out of it.

South TX MFan

February 8th, 2015 at 9:05 AM ^

That's not how the Lemon Law works at all. The vehicle has to have the same defect repaired 4 times without success or be out of service for 30 days or more. The first report of the defect has to be within the first year of ownership. After that the vehicle can be replaced or refunded if it was a lease.

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Mr Miggle

February 8th, 2015 at 12:30 PM ^

with door to door salesmen, contractors, etc. I'm not sure how it would apply to signing an LOI. Is that even a contract? I don't believe its terms are legally enforceable. They just have to conform to NCAA rules.


February 8th, 2015 at 7:51 AM ^

I agree with what he says. If I were a coach or parent of a recruit I would also tell my kids to stay off twitter when it gets close to NSD, during and immediately after. This will solve some of issues kids hearing from the arm chair internet critics. I know it's used as a recruiting tool but how important is it really? I think it's nothing but too much access to minors and exposes them to too much. 


February 8th, 2015 at 7:43 AM ^

In my opinion, if you don't want the circus like attention that comes with the non sense of recruiting; just keep it private. I don't agree with Roquan's coach about any of this. Every academic institution has its perks, but they are all not "the same." The facilities are what separate the big boys in regards to "wowing" a recruit who is a child when he visits. The relationships are generally not genuine and this has been an age long issue with recruiting. Nick Saban stockpiles recruits in an effort to not just make his team better, but to keep kids away from competing SEC schools. Urban Meyer just did this to us by Lying to a 17 year old kid.

Wee-Bey Brice

February 8th, 2015 at 7:54 AM ^

His point was that all the big boys have nice facilities so that's not really a deciding factor. the difference between Michigan and a mid level program may be facilities, but when compared to other powerhouses like BAMA or USC, facilities will be about even. So relationships ARE what separates them. One can't simply disagree with fact

Wee-Bey Brice

February 8th, 2015 at 7:58 AM ^

To add, Roquan is not bringing this circus on himself. He HAS by all accounts kept it quiet. That's why experts thought he was a UGA lean his entire recruitment. This is kind of what the coach is referring to, people think they have all the answers. "Oh well If you don't want ABC to happen then you should just..." Everything is black/white when sitting behind a computer screen talking about someone else's life


February 8th, 2015 at 8:24 AM ^

You hear the phrase all the time, football is not forever. Your education and degree is.

If your smart you will flow those words closely and look out for number 1.

Coaches will come and go. If your recruited you should ask your self of this coach left do I want to be here. Nature of beast it will happen.

Education first; sport second.


February 8th, 2015 at 8:49 AM ^

Good points....

Not sure if anyone else has noticed this, but are kids putting too much emphasis on their relationship with coaches these days as compared to 15-20 years ago?

Maybe because we didn't have social media back then and didn't hear about it as much? Maybe because coaches and assistants stayed around much longer back then than they do now? Or are these kids that starved for some adult attention where they are willing to choose a school they may or may not have normally choosen just because of the coach(es)?

As time goes by, I personally and professionally see more and more kids starving for that adult attention, especially from adult males which are typically the one adult kids are missing in their lives if there is a missing parental role/role model. Sad if recruiting is reflecting this state.

I've also seen the value of education increasingly being thrown to the wayside. College is no longer a valued stepping stone to bettering one's self. The four year undergrad college degree has been devalued quite a bit and unlike the NBA where kids can be recruited right out of high school, college is seen by part of the population as NFL's minor leauge division. 

"I didn't come here to play school!" A lot aren't saying it, but most are thinking it....sadly.


February 8th, 2015 at 9:30 AM ^

college degrees ironically are no longer the separating force. EVERYONE is going to college metaphorically. Face it, college/NFL football is nothing more than a business venture and it really turned the corner about 1991-92. Prior to that tv contracts etc were minimal compared to now. I still remember going to Big ten championships and we received a pretty nice duffle bag I still travel with. We were told the B1G was receiving corporate money and we could receive small items at championship events.
Now it has blown up into bowl gifts at all levels where athletes enter a prize room and use points awarded for gifts. The apparel contracts, etc have gone crazy. When we needed running shoes we went to Tortise and hare and picked up a pair of shoes regardless of brand, and it was charged to athletics. You needed coach approval first it wasn't an open shopping spree.
Today they have top to bottom all conditions gear branded to get that athlete under contract before they go pro. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Thus the uniformz everyone loves to bitch about ad nauseum, trying to draw the young crowd and souvenier sales. everything is about money, an opportunity to make more money...oddly as much as I loathed Brandonomics, he took this model t the extreme...probably visionary of where NCAA athletics is headed.
Kids and coaches no longer see collegiate athletics as a destination or an accomplishment, it's a vehicle for reaching something more financially...which has become the NCAA business model.


February 8th, 2015 at 9:48 AM ^

Yes....we can thank our lovely politicians (both sides of aisle) for the 21st centuary skills push that says "everyone should go to a 4 year college." That's all I'll say on that to keep from getting too political.


Problem is, not everyone wants/needs/can go to a 4 year college. We devalued skilled labor and trades so much and those programs were such a good thing for students who didn't want/need/could go to a 4 year college to major in something they didn't like and be strapped by mounds of debt for a degree they can't/don't use.


February 8th, 2015 at 12:09 PM ^

I can say after starting this convo. I can appreciate the good dialog and above all one wolverine fan not bashing another.

Thank you all above!

UMchick I agree with your comments 100%. My career now and currently has been in a leadership role in with a global staffing organization and I can say I deal with these points of interest often. Many points you covered are very accurate.

I still stick with my above statement. Select the school that is your true coach who will always take care of you.

If Smith number 1 focus was education he would of signed. UCLA is an awesome school which will surely land him a great job one day. He cares more about his coach and football. Well according to what the media has provided us.

Good luck to the kid and good dialog group!


February 8th, 2015 at 9:34 AM ^

I agree. I'm not criticizing Weber per se and understand relationships matter. However, the ultimate value for these kids is the degree that they would be receiving.

I also disagree that nothing separates us from Alabama, OSU and other schools. They may get sold that the schools are all the same, but they're not.

All I wish is the best of luck to Weber (except against UM). There is no need to tweet recruits. It's stupid and unnecessary.

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February 8th, 2015 at 9:34 AM ^

I think it is inaccurate to apply this generalization to Roquan.  He was deciding between UM, UCLA and UGA, all very good undergraduate schools.  Based on the quotes that came out of the recruiting profiles and his selection of schools, one could conclude his education was  important to him.  IIRC he even referenced the long term benefits of the Michigan degree.  I also believe that relationships are just as important now as they were in the past. The players spend more time with their coaches than to do with anyone else during their undergraduate years. The coaches significantly affect their development as men in addition to their development as athletes.  Who affects this personal and professional transformation should be of utmost importance.  I don't believe this has changed very much.  Parents sent the sons to  play under Bear, Bo, Woody, Bobby and JoPa because of they thought their sons were in good hands.  We are just much more aware of the process.


February 8th, 2015 at 10:45 AM ^

The issue isn't the coaches leaving. The issue is the coaches lying, deceiving, and betraying the kids. Grown men who are supposed to care for and be mentors for these kids are flat out lying to these teenage kids.

The coach is free to leave whenever he wants. That is his right. What makes it wrong, is recruiting a kid on the basis that you will be his coach. His position coach. And THE NEXT DAY, you leave. You know he had that offer weeks in advance. You mean to tell me he HAPPENED to formally accept the day after signing day and didn't know beforehand? Not even the night before when he was talking to Weber? Yet he somehow forgets to mention that to the kid?

If he had been up front and honest, Weber very well may have still gone to OSU and everything would have been fine. No story. No issues. But it is the fact that Weber was deceived, lied to, and betrayed by the group of men who are supposed to care for him and mold him into a better man.


February 8th, 2015 at 8:31 AM ^

You know what the coaches sell those kids on? ‘That it’s about the people and the relationships.’ That’s all they sell the kids on. They all say the same things. If you had a recruiter sitting here, he’d say, ‘Our school is just like everybody else, but it’s all about the people and relationships with us.’

Even if in the end your NLI is a contract with the school, the relationship does indeed begin with the people representing it. We saw that process occur and recurr throughout the time Hoke was here - a fair number of recruits remarked specifically on the atmosphere and interactions surrounding the staff and how much they enjoyed that. We've even seen a bit of that already with Harbaugh and his staff. 

In the case of players like Weber and Smith, yes, coaches come and go on staffs all the time, but when you fail to tell a recruit that the dpearture of the coach with which they formed this relationship or the coach that may coach their position is imminent, that's not right, in my opinion. A lie of omission is still a lie, but then schools have little incentive to abide by anything resembling "full disclosure" in this regard. 


February 8th, 2015 at 8:49 AM ^

was regarding the similarities between all the top universities. really when you get right down to it, its probably the intangibles that make a difference. closness to home, if you get a good first impression of current players, buddies on the team, younger coaches. things that we usually think of as peripheral considerations.


February 8th, 2015 at 9:06 AM ^

who have the audacity to denounce the post-Signing Day actions of these kids: Shame on you.  Seriously, shame on you.  I'd like to believe that perhaps you're just bitter that these kids did not commit to Michigan, but it's also entirely possible you are sociopaths who really enjoy insulting 17 year old children. Do you remember yourself at 17?  Do you remember how impressionable you were?  Did you ever admire or look up to a teacher or other adult figure at that age?  How would you feel if that person got up and left the next day?  It's an incredibly difficult episode for any kid to deal with.

Roquan's coach is absolutely right.  There's little that separates Michigan, Alabama and their ilk in terms of facilities, prestige, etc.  Relationships matter very, very much.  If you're too thick headed to understand that, then stop posting here.  There's a lot of recruits that visit these sorts of web sites, and I'd rather they not see you as a representation of the University of Michigan fanbase.  Grow up.


February 8th, 2015 at 9:13 AM ^

The thing I dislike the most about Twitter is that people have the option to be completely nameless/faceless. It lets people do whatever the hell they want. Change it to force people to add and confirm their name.

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Maximinus Thrax

February 8th, 2015 at 9:59 AM ^

While it is a nice thought, social media, by allowing us to engage with a wider range of people over a wider range of ideas, therefore exposes a lot of our ideas that before would not have been publicized. On Twitter I have been able to connect with people who oppose certain forms of hydrocarbon extraction. One of our group lost her job for what she found out was FAVORITING a post critical of a company that unaware to her does business with her company. The lesson....stay anonymous until you are secure enough that you can't be punished for your opinions by powerful people


February 8th, 2015 at 9:54 AM ^

I agree and sadly kids don't adhere to that nor do their parents often monitor everything they're doing or seeing.

I am a huge proponent of restricting the internet usage of minors although policing that is a huge issue and could cause other issues. I think twitter should be done away with as a recruiting tool, period.


February 8th, 2015 at 9:17 AM ^

all I can say about it is karma is a cruel witch goddess. Look at the Weber case… blasts Michigan and its coaches calling them all liars. This was not only to defend his choice of schools but also to hurt future recruiting (and dont kid yourself it does hurt). Dude chooses osu and BAM gets screwed over by the very lying he accused Michigan of.

Yes karma is a cruel witch goddess.

Candor for Sale

February 8th, 2015 at 9:32 AM ^

The only thing these coaches/people in charge will understand is consequences. When the Cass Techs of the world start refusing to let coaches recruit at their schools (and even spread the word to an entire region), then things like this might (MIGHT) stop happening. A total shun probably won't happen though, because high school coaches would then be denying their players a chance to play for a big-time program. 


February 8th, 2015 at 9:47 AM ^

I have read through this and other posts on this matter. It seems almost everyone sees a problem, but the solutions are quite varied. I have seen it suggested a disclosure clause for coaches, limit social media some way , possibly monitor the interactions of coaches and recruits, and possibly allow recruits to hire professional guidance. Not sure what the answer is but it seems it all comes down to the integrity of the coach. The best  way to gauge that is the coaches past history and if he handles recruits with trust and respect. Of course that can change in a heartbeat with a lucrative job offer. Is there really any solution to this? Are these kids just fodder for some of these coaches career advancements?


February 8th, 2015 at 10:00 AM ^

if the coaches in question really had the player's best interest at heart as most claim they do then concealed information would not be a factor at all. Tell the player youre leaving and continue to recruit them based on the school, the other players in the class and the remaining staff. In both the case of UCLA and OSU these coaches demonstrated loyalty to their bosses rather than the players they were recruiting and they were caught in their deception. Yes it's a business, yes coaches move on, but concern for the player was completely abandoned or disregarded in both these cases.  


February 8th, 2015 at 10:00 AM ^

if the coaches in question really had the player's best interest at heart as most claim they do then concealed information would not be a factor at all. Tell the player youre leaving and continue to recruit them based on the school, the other players in the class and the remaining staff. In both the case of UCLA and OSU these coaches demonstrated loyalty to their bosses rather than the players they were recruiting and they were caught in their deception. Yes it's a business, yes coaches move on, but concern for the player was completely abandoned or disregarded in both these cases.