During the dog days of recruiting, my mind often wanders. I start thinking, “How the heck did I get into recruiting?”
The scary thing is that I’ve actually mellowed in recent years. But make no mistake, there was a time when it was my MAIN hobby. (Yeah, yeah, I know, I needed to get a life.)
In today’s world of the 24/7 news cycle, the internet, and more recently, social media (Twitter, I’m looking at you), you can get your recruiting fix easily — and often. It begs the question, at least in my head, how did people follow recruiting before the internet? Before Rivals and Scout?
Maybe the answer is that you really didn’t, until Letter-of-Intent Day, that is.
And in many ways, I wish it had stayed that way. Then maybe I wouldn’t have tied up my parents phone line so much in high school, put off my studies in college, and spent so much money on LOI day fiesta dinners with my roommates.
OK, last part was pretty cool, but no joke, being a recruiting fanatic can be a huge time suck. I am sure wives and girlfriends aren’t a huge fan of January through Feb. 7 . (Ah, the advantages of being single).
So here’s my second question, how did you get sucked into this crazy thing called recruiting?
For me, it started my junior year of high school (1999). I had a marketing teacher who was a huge Washington fan. He’d always brag when the Dawgs got a highly-regarded recruit or be devastated when they lost a player to another school. I spent a lot of time huddled at his computer looking at whatever the UW site was back then.
And before I knew it I was hooked. I loved star-gazing, 40-times, and the offer list. And in true Dennis Erickson-fashion, I became enamored with speed. If a player could fly, I wanted him in Orange and Black. One day, my marketing teacher handed me a post-it note with a website address scrawled on it — it was the OSU Rivals site! That day began my downward spiral.
By my senior year of high school, I was a full-out addict. It didn’t help that two of my high school classmates were being recruited by the Beavers and both ended up signing with them. (Gave you guys a big clue, there). I became known as the guy you went to for OSU information, and I was proud of it. My recruiting knowledge was a bonus, even though I am pretty sure everyone else thought it made me more of nerd.
In college, it got worse. I started referring to LOI Day as my second Christmas, started my LOI Day dinner tradition, and perhaps most telling, just like that former marketing teacher of mine, began taking the recruiting losses way too hard. Not good.
Talk about unhealthy, delusional, and just plain crazy.
Luckily, somewhere along the line I beat the addiction. Becoming a sports reporter and having to be objective will do that you. But it was a good thing. Now I can enjoy recruiting for what it is — entertainment. Sure, I was disappointed when Cleveland Wallace switched to UW at the last minute a couple years ago, and I was stoked when we landed Kenny Delp this this year, but I took it all in stride.
I’d like to think I’m in a good place in terms of how hard I follow OSU recruiting now. But as I become more and more removed from journalism and more and more of a fan again, I could see myself slipping again. Working with Peter also is a huge risk factor, he oozes CHAINSAW!
So that brings me to my last question: what do you guys enjoy the most about following recruiting? If you don’t follow it much, why not?