Myra Bean column

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 22, 2010

Despite the urgency, there is plenty of time to make decisions

Football recruiting season is always very interesting but tiring to the recruiters, recruits and some people in the media.

What most players, who are young men in their teen years, do not realize is that they have time to make decisions which could affect the rest of their lives.

That is why I am glad that most parents get involved and talk to their children. Most of us let our children decide where they want to go to college or even if they want to go.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

They are on the verge of adulthood and have to learn to make some hard choices. That does not mean we have to let them make them all by themselves. Recruiting can be very stressful to athletes who are very talented and have a lot of big schools with a lot of big name head coaches leading the recruiting parade.

This week Nick Brassell felt some of that pressure that comes not just from recruiters but also from the media to “make a decision now and tell us what it is.”

The main important point is: nothing means anything until recruits can officially sign national letters of intent. For football that is the first Wednesday of February each year. It has become known as national signing day.

From what I have gathered over the years, media go to the various schools and take photos of recruits signing scholarships, their parents, coaches and others looking on in support. Then that signed paper with recruits and parents signatures are faxed to the respective school.

This next part I have not seen for myself but I do have a good imagination. The head coach of those teams or someone hired for this job stands over the faxes that day and yells throughout the office who actually signed with that school. When that school actually gets the signature of the No. 1 recruit, they break out a bottle of sparkling grape juice and celebrate.

Then around 2 or 3 that afternoon, the coaches hold press conferences and appear so relaxed and not really excited about the signing class.

From what I have learned over the years, the head coaches of these schools cannot comment on recruits until they actually sign the letter. I guess they can say something to their families and staff, but openly cannot say anything publicly about how they feel if a recruit commits to their school.

That is why you never see official statements from schools before national signing day.

Rick Cleveland of the Clarion-Ledger wrote a column yesterday on the “seedy aspects” of recruiting. He quoted South Panola head football coach Lance Pogue.

Pogue also spoke with The Panolian Tuesday after all of the charges against player Nick Brassell that he committed to Mississippi State and then decommitted and then re-committed.

Pogue said he told the guys to put all the recruiting stuff behind them and to just finish the season.

“I think it’s too soon,” Pogue said.

That’s the best advice from anyone. Everybody wants to be the first to break the news, but Brassell missed school Monday because of the pressure of this decision. That is a high price to pay.

I also spoke with Deshea Townsend this week. Townsend is settling into his first season with the Indianapolis Colts after playing 12 seasons and two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

His advice to the young men: “It does not matter what school you go to whether Division 1, 2, or 3. Just go somewhere and get you an education.”

Townsend said it used to be there was all this emphasis on going to Division 1 schools but things have changed.

Townsend shared what he was going through during his recruiting time. He had offers from Ole Miss and Mississippi State, but his parents Willie B. and the late Lena Townsend, told him to make the best choice for himself. He said at the time both Mississippi State and Ole Miss would have been great choices but after the visit to Alabama, that is what sold him.

Dewayne Rudd, a former teammate of Towsend who played in the NFL for six years, was considering going to Tennessee, according to Townsend. When Townsend told Rudd he was going to Alabama, Rudd changed his mind.

“It made it even easier to go there knowing I had a hometown friend and teammate over there,” Townsend said.

At the end of the phone interview from the Colts weight facilities, Townsend sent his greetings to Panola County.

“Tell everyone I said hi,” he said.

To all the athletes, no matter what sports, there is time to finish your senior season. Believe me, those recruiters will still be there if you continue to play to the best of your ability. They will be there to convince you to join their family and their nation.

Remember the saying: the urgent is seldom important and the important is seldom urgent.
So if this decision which will affect the rest of your life is important, there is no urgency to make it right now. You have time to mull it over, talk it over and do whatever else is necessary to get it right.