It seems like a couple of times a week this time of the year, you’ll hear or read a report of a highly-touted recruit switching his non-binding verbal commitment from one school to another.
What’s very rare, though, is to see a parent of the de-commit very publicly question the flip. The adoptive father of one of the top players in the state of Alabama, though, appears to play this recruiting game straight from the old-school playbook, where giving your word to somebody or some thing actually means something.
Linebacker/running back Brent Calloway, the No. 1 player in the state according to Rivals.com, had given his verbal to Alabama last June, but announced at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl — broadcast on NBC — that he was going to Auburn. Harland “Peaches” Winston, who along with his wife adopted Calloway when he was in ninth grade, was stunned to learn that the No. 12 player in the country announced during the telecast that he was headed to The Plains.
And, suffice to say, he was not pleased with how the situation played itself out.
“I’m from the old school,” Winston told the Birmingham News. “When you shake a man’s hand, look him in the eye and make a commitment, you stick to that commitment.
“I respect him and I’m going to root for him. But I don’t think he handled it the right way.”
For his part, Calloway said the fact that Auburn will allow him to play running back — the Tide coaching staff, along with the dad, feel Calloway’s best route to the NFL is via the defensive side of the ball — and their depth chart at that position is less crowded than their in-state rival’s played a role in his decision. Plus, it appears Calloway is simply more comfortable with the situation, including the coaching staff, at Auburn.
Not only is Winston not comfortable with how his son went about making the decision, he appears far from comfortable with the “flamboyance” of the Tiger staff.
“They stick to business. You don’t see their coaches high-fiving,” Winston, who says he’s not a ‘Bama fan, said of Nick Saban’s Tide staff. And in an unrelated story, the ears of Trooper Taylor (no relation) and his white towel are suddenly ringing with a urgent ferocity.
Despite his reservations, Winston told the paper that he will not interfere with his son’s decision.
Calloway has a visit scheduled to Auburn Saturday.