With 48 hours to go until being able to submit his National Letter of Intent to Louisville, South Carolina running back Matt Colburn was asked to put his Louisville plans on hold until next January. Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino pulled a scholarship offer to Colburn that had been verbally accepted for the past eight months with the request he enroll next January and grayshirt for the Cardinals.
“They want him to [grayshirt], which is him coming in next January,” Colburn’s high school coach Tom Knotts said to The State. “Matt has been committed to them almost eight months. We’re all very upset about it.”
So close to signing day, the search for a new football home is going to plaid right now for Colburn, but the options this late in the recruiting game are limited at best.
“Right now, we’re being proactive in trying to reach out to other schools but he really shut himself off from all the other schools relative to his recruitment,” Knotts explained. “We have to get his name back out there. We’re not happy about it. We’ll see what else might pop up.”
This sort of thing happens every season, so Louisville is far from the first or last school to use this method of recruiting and roster management. To do so this close to National Signing Day may come off a little odd though, and there is no question it is unfortunate for the recruit.
Louisville recently added former TCU defensive standout Devonte Fields to the Class fo 2015, taking up one scholarship in the process. The addition of Fields was not exactly in the plan of attack when a scholarship was initially offered to Colburn, because Fields was not dismissed by TCU until just before the college football season. TCU has also had to focus on defensive secondary options in recruiting after losing some key players to the NFL a year early. Louisville is not doing anything that violates any recruiting rules, although some will suggest Louisville may be violating a certain unwritten code of recruiting ethics.
Players are given the freedom to flip their commitments at any time. Is it fair for schools to pull a scholarship for reasons based purely on roster manipulation? It would have been one thing had Colburn been in some sort of legal trouble that raised a red flag, but that is not at all the case here. Feel free to leave your thoughts on this practice of grayshirting players and how Louisville handled it in the comments below.