One of the big stories on National Signing Day is always focused on the players that pull a switcheroo in their commitment. Losing a highly sought-after recruit on signing day can be a devastating blow to a program, but it is not at all uncommon to see it happen a few times on signing day. Yesterday was no exception, with Florida State seeing defensive tackle Shavar Manuel commit and sign with the Seminoles despite verbally committing to Florida in early January. Manuel’s late flip may have taken the Florida staff by surprise, but it was all a part of a plan of attack fueled by a Florida State assistant coach.
Florida State defensive ends coach Brad Lawing suggested Manuel lead the Gators on and to “tell the damn Gators anything they want to hear,” according to a report from The Orlando Sentinel.
“Shavar had told me the night before, ‘I’m a Seminole,’ and then he committed to Florida,” Lawing said Wednesday at a signing day event in Tallahassee. “I called him up, asked what’s going on, and he said, ‘I’m just getting some pressure from people.’
“So he didn’t just flip tonight. We’ve known about this for about two weeks.”
It goes without saying recruiting can be a shady and competitive part of the game. Things only get more intense when rivals are going after the same recruit. Negative recruiting is one thing, but this was deceptive recruiting at play. There is nothing wrong with that, as there are no rules against it outlined by the NCAA. Until a player actually faxes in their National Letter of Intent, all is fair game in recruiting. A program that wants to compete at a high level will look to create an edge any way it can. If that just so happens to hurt a rival, that’s killing two birds with one stone.