OT -- Marcus Dupree: Recruiting Question

Submitted by Ron_Lippitt on May 8th, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Channel flipped last night, and ended up catching the ESPN 30 For 30 "Marcus Dupree: The Best That Never Was"  I'm a big fan of the series but had never seen this particular documentary.

They spent a good chunk of the program detailing the EXTENSIVE recruiting of Marcus out of high school, most notably from Oklahoma and Texas.  Apparently, as he was getting closer to making his college choice, both Texas and Oklahoma paid for their respective recruiters to actually LIVE in Philadelphia, Mississippi for the final six weeks.  According to the show, these two were staying on the same floor of the same hotel, if you can imagine that.  They shadowed Marcus' high school football coach, and were in on virtually every discussion during practice and meetings.  In the end, it took a Billy Sims personal visit by private plane to seal the deal for OU.

Given today's NCAA rules/requirements -- would this even be legal?  This was 1982 so I'm assuming the rules were a bit less restrictive.  In any case, this apparently was the recruiting battle to end ALL recruiting battles.  Dare I say - even moreso than the Terrelle Pryor recruitment?



May 8th, 2012 at 11:45 AM ^

It would be all over the internets.

The Billy Sims and the off campus visits by coaches are prohibited.  That is why there are only a limited number of personal contacts.  THe HC gets one home visit.  

In regards to the Pryor recruitment............apples and oranges.  Pryor was never coming to Michigan hence it was never a battle.  

Pryor was a media whore.  Dupree was whored by him family



May 8th, 2012 at 11:54 AM ^

and many of today's rules were designed to curb those kinds of abuses.

BTW, there's an excellent book by a guy named Willie Morris called "The Courting of Marcus Dupree" that came out a few months after his first season at OU ended.

Space Coyote

May 8th, 2012 at 12:14 PM ^

That recruitment was insane, and the teams went to really great lengths to get him (because he was one of the best recruits of all time).  I still think there is a lot of illegal activity with recruiting, a lot of money hand shakes and all that, but there is no way that recruiting could go to that degree today.  It would be all over the internet and teams would get busted.  Again, there is still a lot of shadiness in recruiting, especially the top talents, and to an extent many of us may be surprised, but the level of recruiting that was seen for Dupree was on a whole different level.

Class of 1817

May 8th, 2012 at 12:36 PM ^

Marcus Dupree's story is just an amazing ride through humanity. Takes you from the highs of being the most wanted kid in D-I to a tearjerker ending. All centered around a man with strong character who seems nothing but likeable, humble, and hardworking.


May 8th, 2012 at 12:51 PM ^

Dupree comes off as immensely likeable but totally overwhelmed by the spotlight as a teenager and, to no one's surprise, has a great many adults swarming around him who don't  particularly care about him, but see him as their vehicle to wealth or glory.   I was so happy for him when he made it back and had that time with the Rams-- that was a turn in the story I didn't remember.  

His battle of wills with Switzer reminded me a bit of the other 30-for-30 story about Todd Marinovich and his battle with Coach Smith at USC.  For all their efforts to bring in superstar talent, D1 head coaches aren't always comfortable when a kid's talent is so immense it overshadows the coach himself.  


May 8th, 2012 at 1:05 PM ^

Was probably my favorite if not the top 3 I have seen on the series. His recruitment was the most intense of any kid ever. It's a shame that his Uncle and others were steering that humble kid the way they did, take away all the cameras and hoopla and just watch this kid run and watch how he was built, dude was a fricken tank at RB and could of been one of the greats. I get sad when I watch that one knowing what a good kid he was and not knowing how the "real" world works. It was a shame


May 8th, 2012 at 1:24 PM ^

There were three running backs that all came out one after the other that were as good of a prospect as you're likely to ever see...Herschel Walker (who lots of folks claim was the greatest football prospect they'd EVER seen), Marcus Dupree and then Bo Jackson. 

I would imagine those guys would be playing different positions today. The de-emphasis on the running game means that a 230 pound guy with 4.4 (or better) speed would be of more value at DE or LB.


May 8th, 2012 at 1:32 PM ^

As a freshman he had 7.8 ypc and scored a TD about every 12th carry.  But the best thing about Dupree was his power/speed combo.  He was an amalgam of Sims/Herschel Walker/Earl Campbell.  



May 8th, 2012 at 2:48 PM ^

The recruiting of Dupree seems crazy only when compared to the current rules - you hear stories about how kids were recruited and it blows my mind.  Anyone who says college sports was more noble 25-30 years ago is just ignoring reality.


May 8th, 2012 at 10:00 PM ^

The rumors about the night's sleep on the front porch could very well have been true, and have to be believable to anyone who knows anything about what the Bootlegger's son was doing in his time in Norman.  However, even with all the violations on record and those off, Marcus reports ultimately it was Switzer's swag that made him decide on OU, and many other h.s. players of that era felt the same way. 

You have to recall this kid was wanted so badly by Barry that he actually switched from the vaunted and proven wishbone to an I formation just to utilize Marcus's almost incomparable talents to maximum potential. They did build a tremendous rapport during his recruitment, but Barry also coached. He wanted Marcus to play closer to his h.s. weight - near 220- than at the extra 15-20 pds he put on, probably a result of natural growth.  MD didn't take kindly to BS's motivational tactics and we all know the ending. 

But as to your question, today's rule breakers have just gotten better with stealth tactics than the blatant violations of thirty years ago. For instance, it was not unusual for Bear to be hosting a recruit at a fine restaurant and have a young qb from the NY Jet's just happen to be in the same restaurant and merely by coincidence run into his old college coach.  The things Switzer did would be front page news or gone viral with today's wide spread media, but we all are now aware that even with this onmipresent danger, Tressel and Carroll exercised equally blantant violations and got away with them for years before discovered.  So my anwswer is No, they wouldn't get away with the same tactics they used, for the reasons stated above. However, just as effective as was Barry in his bending - hell, obliterating the rule book - so too are some of today's coaches, best two examples named immediately above.   If Barry were coaching at the collegiate level today, he would be just as good as implementing the tactics that today's rule shaper's use. Hell, when you  are the master at a given thing, different eras only cause you to use different measures.

The similarities I see with all three programs associated with the above-named coaches are that all three communities, Norman, Columbus and Compton are not only aware of what is taking place,in many cases they endorse it.  Garrett, after Carroll's fall from grace, "Name me one school who wouldn't trade the past ten years for what we did here?"!!!!! And during my year in OKC I was first surprised but later came to grips with the reality of the pride the boosters took in making themselves known. Best example came from a wealthy lady whose home we were working on after a 7-5, 8-4 campaign, "With the money we give that guy to bring in the best talent in America, there's just no damn excuse for a record like that." 

So, no these things are no longer allowed, but yes, equally flagrant violations do occur and certain schools just seem to have a propensity for pertuating this type of behavior. 


May 8th, 2012 at 11:17 PM ^

Just watched this tonight and I never knew how awesome this guy was (1979 born). He ran possessed. I truly feel he ran for pure love if the game and for his brother. I cried at the end when he talked about his brother. He seems like a really nice guy. His ability to come back 5 years later only speaks to his pure love of the game. Sure money would've been nice motivation too, but to bring yourself back, there has to be more than money on your mind and in your heart.