Feb 032009
Authors: Matt L. Stephens

Great Scott! (I’m bringing it back) Just a week ago it felt as if recruits were falling off the board faster than Dan Hawkins could say, “losing season.” But this week things have changed, picking up three more verbal commitments including yesterday’s snag in Muskogee, Okla. – cornerback Vernon Scott.

Aside from Scott, who was being heavily recruited by both Arkansas and Kansas State, CSU has received commitments from corner Andrew Taylor of Dallas, Texas, as well as defensive tackle Curtis Wilson from Orlando, Fla.’s Timber Creek High School.

Oh, things are starting to look up because today is National Signing Day 2009! That’s right, get your popcorn ready, today the signatures are going to roll in from coast to coast. Whether it’s Jared Koster from Norco, Calif., Joe Brown from Wichita, Kan. or Te’Jay Brown down in St. Petersburg, Fla., today is the big day to sign the dotted line.

And the most exciting part of getting those signatures today means that those players are officially Colorado State Rams. Welcome to the family!

Here’s where the greed sets in.

As an objective journalist, I wish the best for all high school prospects, no matter where they decide to play ball, but my alter ego, the dedicated sports fan, is sick and tired of players renouncing their commitment.

No, it’s not just something that happens at CSU, it happens to virtually every school across the map, but you really don’t care that much unless it hits close to home, and this recruiting season it definitely has.

Which prospects left the Rams after making early commitments? Well, there have been quite a few, but the one in particular who stands out is starting the nation’s No. 16 ranked strong side defensive end, Craig Payne. Yes, at one time during the 2009 season the Rams had a verbal from one of the top 20 players in the country at the defensive end position. That was until Utah poached him on Jan. 12.

This is why I believe there should be an early signing period for football just like there is for basketball and baseball. You make a decision, you stick with it, that’s it.

I guess when it comes down to it, it’s all about integrity. It’s about being able to stick to your word and keep a promise, because that’s what a verbal commitment is – a promise. And when a high school player makes one of these promises, it’s so much more than just a selfish act to be distinguished as a Division-I football player, it’s a promise to a community, a fan base, a team, and most importantly, a coach who is offering to give you a college education at virtually no cost, as long as you do what he asks of you.

Now, I guess I have no room to talk, I didn’t play football past the 8th grade, I didn’t put in the summer workouts and the hours and hours of practice to get to these guys’ level. Heck, I was originally enrolled in the University of Kansas after high school before switching to Arkansas at the last minute, and then transferring to what I now call my true home here at Colorado State my sophomore year.

I’ve made changes in my college decisions, and maybe I’m a hypocrite, so be it. But no one ever offered to pay for my education in this way.

Perhaps I’m preaching to the choir, but one thing is for sure. Right now Colorado State has 19 young men who are excited about becoming official members of the Ram family and I hope all of you will embrace them with open arms as they sign their letters of intent today. It’s a great time to be a Ram. Steve Fairchild is building what is sure to be another great football team with guys who want to be here.

Oh, it’s a happy day.

Sports writer Matt L. Stephens can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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