High School Recruiting is a Circus

The sign that the apocalypse is upon us.

Alabama fans using FlightAware to track the Gulfstream jet carrying Alabama coach Mike Shula tracking the plane as it landed in Jacksonville, FL.

Why was the plane going there? So Mike Shula could spend 12 hours the day before with high school quarterback Tim Tebow before he would announce his college choice. He was torn between Alabama and Florida. He committed to the University of Florida (Sorry Mike).

If you haven’t heard of Tim Tebow then you don’t follow high school recruiting much, which is just fine. You’re not as fanatic as some people are. At least in this part of Florida, Tim is the biggest high school recruit since Emmitt Smith committed to the University of Florida 20 years ago.

Tim, the all-time passing leader in state history, finished the 2005 season completing 223-of-355 passes (62.8 percent) for 3,442 yards and 34 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,045 yards and 21 touchdowns in 13 games. Phenomenal numbers.

Now I think it’s crazy that fans and the media give so much attention to a high school player just because he is announcing where he’s going to college. Does the next coming of Einstein get a press conference when he/she decides which Ivy League school they’ll enroll? This is not the first press conference televised on ESPN. This won’t be the last either. We also see this in basketball. Maybe it’s just magnified for the two college sports that fans live and die for. You don’t hear much hoopla over tennis, golf, volleyball, or even baseball.

Not to take anything away from Tim. From reading in the media and hearing what those close to him have to say, this is a guy you would want to meet the parents. He’s a team oriented player who has handled the media so far very well. He’s had a stellar high school career but that always doesn’t mean he’ll excel in college.

Fans are expecting these types of players to be the savior of a university. They want a Vince Young or a Matt Leinart. But they haven’t even played a down in college yet. They might just get a Ron Paulus (Four Heisman awards Beano Cook?).

But these are 17-18 year old kids given more attention and media than most can handle. Those who aren’t grounded and humble can let all this attention go to their egos and ultimately lead to their failure. They’re treated like kings. Thankfully gone are the days when private jets picked up players and they feasted on filet and lobster. It’s almost embarrassing we give these players so much attention and hype for just doing well in high school.

For every Reggie Bush coming out of high school, there’s 10 five star blue chip recruits that never live up to expectations in college. When these players are off the top pedestal, those who cheered for him or wanted to be friend are suddenly gone.

For Tim’s press conference there was ESPN News (covered it live), local media, web media, radio stations, and a dancing oversized “Got Milk” cow. About as big as you can get for a high school announcement.

What’s next? A parent having a press conference to announce where their child will attend kindergarten? Stop laughing because it might happen one day.

To see more of Tim Tebow, ESPN 2 has a one hour documentary tonight at 10pm.

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