Nebraska head coach Mike Riley isn’t a fan of a current trend in college football.
The integrity of college football coaches is being questioned due to a rash of moves after National Signing Day.
In some instances, coaches build relationships with potential recruits over a matter of years. When that player verbally commits to the program, it’s a rewarding experience for hard-working coaches and impressionable young men.
However, opportunities for coaches can arise between the point when that relationship is established and before the recruit officially signs with the program.
Recruits can be told over and over again that they should sign with a team because of the school and not a certain coach. It’s simply human nature to latch onto someone during the recruiting process, and coaches often become a deciding factor.
Commitments aren’t official, though, until the player signs a letter of intent on or after National Signing Day. Thus, it’s important for coaches to continue their relationships with recruits even if they know they’re going to leave the program for another opportunity.
It’s become common to a see a flurry of coaching moves the week after National Signing Day.
“I think it is an issue,” Nebraska head coach Mike Riley told ESPN.com’s Mitch Sherman. “I think it is unfortunate for the student-athletes. I think they feel somewhat deceived, and I think that’s bad for our game in general.”
At least two instances of post-National Signing Day coaching moves created national headlines.
Running back Mike Weber tweeted it “hurt like hell” when Ohio State running backs coach Stan Drayton left for an opportunity to coach with the Chicago Bears.
Four-star linebacker Roquan Smith caught wind of UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich leaving the Bruins to join Dan Quinn’s staff with the Atlanta Falcons. Even though Smith committed to UCLA on national television, he didn’t send in his paperwork. The talented linebacker decided to take a step back and reassess the situation before he decided to sign with the Georgia Bulldogs Friday.
This issue isn’t about coaches jumping at better opportunities. It’s intentionally misleading young men who are trying to make the best decision for their future.
According to Smith, Ulbrich actually told the four-star recruit that he turned down the offer to join Quinn’s staff.
Unfortunately, coaches like Riley can speak out against these type of moves, but none actually offer any type of solution.
“After signing date,” he said, “we need to talk about that — what can be done, what are the kids’ options? Can they be allowed to make another choice?”