The Toledo Blade’s David Briggs has a good story up on how vitriolic things can get for a high-profile recruit when said 16- or 17-year-old makes a life-changing decision on his future.
The short answer: Fans on the fringe, thanks to Twitter and Facebook, now have a direct line to high school juniors and seniors to berate them for committing or decommitting to a school. This quote in Briggs’ article from Tom Lemming sums everything up pretty well:
“Social media can really screw up a program,” said Tom Lemming, a national recruiting analyst for CBS Sports Network. “I call them cyber muscles instead of beer muscles. When something doesn’t go their way, they spew their hatred because they’re anonymous. … They can’t say it, but all the coaches privately wish the fans would just shut up.
“Since they’re not on the field coaching or playing, they want to have some small part in this, whether it’s praising a kid and building him up as a legion of sycophants or … turning on the players viciously.”
First of all, it’s against NCAA policy for a fan to tweet at a recruit. It’s also entirely unenforcable — the NCAA isn’t going to slap a sanction on a private citizen for tweeting “f*** you” at a 17-year-old.
Yes, every time a five-star commits to Michigan over Ohio State, it’s going to sting. But we were all teenagers once, and making massive life decisions was a pretty terrifying task.
Thankfully, most of this stuff happens on the fringes of a fanbase. But the easiest rule to follow tomorrow: Don’t tweet at recruits.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah