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Absurdity, bombbast,cameras ABC'S of recruiting!


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Greg Couch

Absurdity, bombast, cameras ABC's of recruiting

 

April 30, 2006

 

BY GREG COUCH SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST

 

 

 

 

He was driven up in a white Hummer limo, a stretched version of the usual ostentation, with police escort. And then out he piled, with entourage, at the College Football Hall of Fame for -- what did the news release call it? -- "a major college recruiting announcement.''

 

And here was the big news:

 

Some high school kid, a junior with spiky yellow hair, has decided he will play quarterback for Notre Dame in 2007. A crowd of 300 fans stood and went nuts.

 

We officially have gone insane, dressing up our kids to play pretend rock star, then taking the whole thing seriously, with grown-ups giving standing ovations. Someone needs a spanking here, and I think it's the adults.

 

Their hero is little Jimmy Clausen, who arrived wearing what I guess you could call bling: three high school championship rings. Analysts are proclaiming this the most important college football signing in decades. Tom Lemming, one of the top recruiting analysts in a crowded field, said the message is that Notre Dame is back.

 

No, no. That's not the message. I'd say the message is we've gone way overboard in the way we're recruiting kids to play college sports. But we're going to have to take three giant steps backward before we simply can call this "overboard.'' And nothing moves backward.

 

What do Irish fans see in little Jimmy?

 

More glory.

 

"That's what I'm here for,'' he said, "to try to get four national championship rings on our fingers.''

 

Well, isn't that cute. Look, this isn't just about Clausen and Notre Dame. It's about the way things are now, with everyone salivating over children. This is just natural, but when it all comes together at Notre Dame -- the seat of American college football -- and the Hall of Fame and the Hummer and everything, the absurdity just jumps out at you.

 

"He's not a showboat,'' Jeff Freedman, the Los Angeles PR guy who set up the news conference at the request of Clausen's parents, told CBS SportsLine.com. "One thing Jimmy's not, he's not braggadocious. He's very humble and very grounded.''

 

Why would we think otherwise?

 

It's hard to know whether to be more taken aback by the sense of entitlement of a kid who thinks it's just normal, grounded stuff for his personal PR guy to call a news conference with so much hullabaloo or by the way Notre Dame is exploiting him. The way our college-sports system exploits these kids.

 

Little Jimmy made his announcement April 22, on what was not so coincidentally the same day as Notre Dame's spring exhibition game. Plenty of undecided top recruits were there, too, and just might have, you know, accidentally noticed the best high school quarterback in the country had a very splashy news conference.

 

You see, kids? This is the reward you get for choosing Notre Dame.

 

Under NCAA rules, Notre Dame couldn't have set up this news conference, not until national signing day, when Clausen can make this official. That's right, by the way. Until he signs, Clausen can change his mind. But this has coach Charlie Weis' fingerprints all over it.

 

It's not that he broke rules because we don't know that. But Clausen and Weis certainly can stay in touch, and Weis certainly can instruct Clausen about how to use the showbiz of recruiting -- at just the right time, in front of just the right other recruits -- to help the team.

 

"I'm going to try to make this the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation this year,'' Clausen said, starting his own campaign to recruit other kids.

 

You shouldn't use kids this way. And just because Clausen is a willing participant, don't try to claim this exploitation is consensual. He's just a kid, and the adults are supposed to know better.

 

So Weis is doing something unseemly here, even if it's within the rules. And he also is doing exactly what he has to do to keep up with the system.

 

"It was a brilliant move by Notre Dame,'' Lemming said. "Recruiting is all show business. No one knows it better than [uSC coach] Pete Carroll. Weis doesn't miss a thing. He saw what Carroll did at USC at their Pro Day a month ago.''

 

Carroll orchestrated a TV event, complete with legendary USC players and local recruits. Clausen's news conference was a way to match that publicity. The Notre Dame-Southern California rivalry is not just on the field.

 

"Weis wasn't going to miss a chance,'' Lemming said. "He suggested that Clausen make his announcement before the Blue-Gold spring game, the day when Notre Dame had 16 All-Americans on campus.''

 

So this is where we are now, a norm for college football. We've celebrated kids as young as Clausen before: Tiger Woods, LeBron James, Venus Williams. With each one, we nervously wondered what we were doing to our kids. But they all were turning pro, moving into the adult world.

 

They all worked out fine, so we try another level. Little Jimmy is moving on to the next step in our educational system.

 

It's a major announcement

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:lol: Cute but uninformed. Charlie is aware. However, Lemming is an old hack like Mike Frank. He does not have Charlies ear, they never will. These guys can 'spout inside' but it's garbage. The only fingerprints I see is a slight attack on Charlie and Notre Dame by some writer and Lemming who is very certainly out of the Notre Dame loop 2005 and 2006 but wants to dream on and pretend. :lol:

 

If your NOT aware the NFL people were VERY UNHAPPY with the way Pete did his "circus." Think Charlie is not in tune to the NFL? I am getting steady drumbeats ND players are NOT happy with this JC show. It really is not a Notre Dame way guys. You may be momentarily happy I care more what those players are saying then what you guys might say here.

 

OK? You guys wanted Josh Oglesby? Well can his parents arrange a stretch hummer, police escort and mayor? This writer was subtley and so was Lemming in a way attacking Coach Weis.

 

Just tell me with a few in the fold who can match this 'certainly West Coast Hollywood" Gizmo? I'd say Charlie was NOT happy. This is after all Hannah, Mr Pass Right for Montana and so many other honorable things I will not mention here. Fingerprints? Pretend inside info and rottenguesses and look at your own sticky fingerprints. (wipe well next time)

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Guest NDLawJAG

The Golf cart was one of those strect jobs... no Hot tub though. I'm not sure we wanna see CW in a speedo cruising around campus.

 

I know that was wrong...

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Guest Bat

DLaw keep this under your hat top secret. I heard in a golf cart some recruit asked Charlie do you have belley dancers here? He pulled up his shirt and looked at his belly button and said i hope not. :wink:

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Hey Bat,Who cares what JC did when he committed to ND.I think it was a good way to promote Notre Dame Football.CW was aware of what was going to happen and i believe that he was probably not all to happy with the way things went , then again maybe he was.All i have to say is that Jimmy Clausen better back it up this coming football season and let the nation know that he is still the top dog at QB.And i agree that maybe it was a reporter that is upset that JC didn't look at the school maybe he thought he should of gone too.We'll probably have to put up with some of these reporters like Mark May for a while longer.But hey we will just show who the great college Football team is ND. :lol:

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Jimmy Clausen isn't guilty of showboating

April 26, 2006

 

I read an article by Dennis Dodd of CBS Sportsline.com, someone I respect greatly as a writer, calling out Jimmy Clausen and the Clausen family for the way they handled their announcement on Saturday at the College Football Hall of Fame. To summarize, Dodd said that Clausen showing up in a stretch Hummer, using a public relations firm to handle the media and publicly stating that his goal is to "get four national championship rings," when committing to Notre Dame makes him a showboat and is an example of how the recruiting process has gotten out of hand. I respectfully disagree -- in a big way.

 

As someone who's been around more televised high school football commitments than anyone, I can tell the difference between a kid who has lost himself in the process and someone who is just having some fun. I've opined on this subject more than once in my blogs and will likely continue to do so for as long as I'm in this business. Recruiting gets bigger and bigger each year, and with it will come some flamboyant announcements and kids with egos the size of Donald Trump. But trust me when I say this, the Clausen thing could have really gotten out of hand.

 

My limited dealings with the Clausens have been pleasant and, despite what I expected and had often been told, there wasn't much ego involved at all. I asked Jim Clausen Sr. if he'd be interested in having Jimmy announce live on SportsCenter whenever he was ready, fully expecting a resounding "yes" since it's only been done a few times and never eight months prior to Signing Day. However, I was told that the family wanted to low-key things as much as they could and, believe it or not, that's what they did.

 

The press conference information was sent out the day before the event, a rarity in this business where anticipation and buildup are as important to kids as X's and O's. The event was held at the College Football Hall of Fame, which sounds pretentious but really isn't. Knowing they couldn't do anything on campus per NCAA rules and not wanting to choose Notre Dame over Southern Cal back in California, the venue made sense. Unless you think 'Backers is a better choice (which it is for a beer but not for a press conference). And, as stated before, there was no TV station calling the shots and asking the questions.

 

Sure, the stretch Hummer might be seen as a bit much, but it's a big family with a lot of friends and why not? Kids get stretch limos for the prom and no one calls them showboats. I've been in more than one stretch automobile for a weekend at the casino or elsewhere and, despite what many of you think, I'm the least pretentious person you'll ever meet.

 

And stating a goal of four national championships isn't being a showboat. Saying you're going to win four Heismans or that you'll win three titles and then dance your way to the NFL, that would be a tad showboaty. Let's not confuse "I love me some me" by Terrell Owens with a kid saying his goal is to win all his games in college.

 

I have a few simple rules when it comes to a high school player announcing his decision. First, there will be no choosing between numerous hats. If you want to put one of the team you chose on when you make the announcement, great. If you want to play a shell game with hats, do it on your own. Second, you should thank all the teams you're considering for their time and effort. These decisions are the livelihood of assistant and head coaches and the least a kid can do is give kudos to the teams who fell short. And finally, never do anything that shows disrespect. Picking up the wrong hat and tossing it down, wearing a jersey under a jersey to fool people, holding up each hat as if you've picked that team, that stuff doesn't fly.

 

So did Jimmy Clausen and his family follow the rules? To me, they did. There were no hats at all, he thanks all the teams who recruited him and he did nothing to disrespect another program. Stretch Hummer, talk of championships, PR firm to handle the media blitz that was sure to come? It's all good by me. If you think Clausen and family were showboating, just think of how big and ugly the commitment of the most hyped player in more than a decade to Notre Dame could have been?

 

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Clausens have

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Guest Bat

I just caught the added remarks by Gwood then Mike Ferill

 

Gwood I happen to care about Notre Dames, and my own name and reputation. I don't want it damaged by some 'punk from the west coast doing a Hollywood thing better suited for USC. Just like Sir John was in a dither when someone elsewhere started posting under his name in aattacks. You protect that.

 

Lemming wrongly and way off base said Charlie's fingerprints were all over this. He blew his integrety if he had any. Now Mike Ferrill? I have know Idea. But let me point out this...If his family wanted ***Low key*** why hire a PR expert? Why involve a Mayor, stretch and police escort? I guess that's low key west coast?

 

MIke, I know STRETCH ARE FOR PROMS, A MAYOR AND POLICE ESCORT? You road in one to casinos and are humble. Big deal.

From this I can gather JC aready has whispers in his ear from the wrong sort.

 

One above as I admitted Charlie can not b happy about this. No it did NOT happen on campus and out of his control. Yes the kid is ND now and in his control. Something like this better not happen again on or off campus. Have you considered the impact on players there and potential recruits in this PR screw up? Or are you just blind cause

we got little jimmy and they come running? I care about our image, JC can go jump in a lake.

 

From a source on campus varified by another while on the East coast Coach Weis saw Randy Mccoy on TV. Who is the only surviving coal miner in that mine disaster in West Virginia and has some brain damage.

Coach saw him on TV with a bit of ND gear. Considered visiting in person but decided not to as it would seem like a PR stunt. (Got that? PR stunt.) Instead he sent him brand new ND gear. So in a roundabout way here I care more about that name, that image then I do Lemming, Mike or this little jimmy. Flash never intrigued me at all.

 

I think you guys know of a certain player that was in Charlies dog house all last year? Recrank up who starts 2007 'if signed', someone is surely in a dog house.

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"Modern Ways of Recruiting" - you mean bitches and hoes? You know, with the DaVinci Code coming out...I have never read the book, but as I understand it, Mary Magdalene was supposedly closer to Jesus than the Church lets on? Maybe she should be the patron Saintess of ND Recruiting. Then, again, we might end up like USC...in scandal.

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Yes! Supposedly, Mary Magdelene was seated at the last supper. I don't think ND will ever be P&H U. That said. We will produce some of the best SUNDAY men within the next 5 years. I love the vertical passing game but I can't wait for our POWER running game to come back. The kind of running game where your OT's end up 30 yds down field steamrolling some poor ususpecting Strong Safety! Okay back to reality. Time to keep my mind on my $ and my $ on my mind!

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i love the atention. when was the last time we had so much attention at nd for recuiting? oh yeah i remember it was when the media said that notre dame can recuit. it was when we had lousy and lousy recuiting classes. like the old saying goes and publicity is good publicity! lights camera HEISMAN!

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Guest TDJesus3

heisman hype this year, and already hearing draft talk for next year, wait till our guys start shooting up the board, kids will be jumping on board even faster than they do now

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