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A Signing Day Now: a dark journey into the heart of recruiting

I've seen industry... industry that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a creep. You have a right to ignore me. You have a right to do that... but you have no right to judge me. It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what industry means. Industry... Industry has a face... and you must make a friend of industry. Industry and moral terror are your friends.

January... shit; we're still only in January... Every time I think I'm gonna wake up back during the in-season visits. When I was offline after my first cycle, it was worse. [grabs at flying insect] I'd wake up and there'd be nothing. I hardly said a word to my subscribers, until I said "yes" to a fee cancellation. When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the #grind. I'm here a week now... waiting for a camp, a tryout, anything... getting softer. Every minute I stay in this room, I get duller, my taeks more tame, and every minute Longhorn analysts spend behind the scenes, they get stronger. Each time I looked around the walls moved in a little tighter.


I was going to the worst place in the world and I didn't even know it yet. Months away and thousands of tweets up a stagnant river that snaked through college football like a main circuit cable plugged straight into Ketch. It was no accident that I got to be the caretaker of Geoff Ketchum's memory any more than being back on National Signing Day was an accident. There is no way to tell his story without telling my own. And if his story really is a confession, then so is mine.


"I love the smell of 'croot tweetin' in the mornin'. Smells like...HEPPIN'!"


If I say its safe to tweet recruits Captain, then its safe to tweet recruits! I mean, I'm not afraid to tweet recruits, I'll tweet all over this whole fucking place!


Thirty-eight fucking years old.  If you joined the recruiting industry, there was no way you'd ever get above reporter.  Ketch knew what he was giving up.  The more I read and began to understand, the more I admired him.  His family and friends couldn't understand it.  And they couldn't talk him out of it.  He had to refinance three times, and he put up with a ton of shit, but when he threatened to sell out to a major service, they gave it to him.  The next youngest guy in his entourage was half his age.  They must've thought he was some far-out man humping it over the college visit scene.  I did it when I was eighteen, it damn near wasted me.  A tough motherfucker.  He finished it.  He could've gone for journalist, but he went for himself instead.



Well, you see, Liucci, in this industry, things get confused out there. Power, ideals, the old morality, and practical journalistic necessity. But out there with these athletes, it must be a temptation to be God. Because there's a conflict in every human heart, between the rational and irration, between good and evil. And good does not always triumph. Sometimes, the dark side overcomes what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature.



Hey, man, you don't talk to the Looch. You listen to him. The man's enlarged my mind. He's a poet warrior in the classic sense. I mean sometimes he'll... uh... well, you'll say "hello" to him, right? And he'll just walk right by you. He won't even notice you. And suddenly he'll grab you, and he'll throw you in a corner, and he'll say, "Do you know that 'back' is the middle word in linebacker? If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you"... I mean I'm... no, I can't... I'm a little man, I'm a little man, he's... he's a great man! I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas...


On the recruiting trail, I thought that the minute I looked at him, I'd know what to do, but it didn't happen. I was out there with him for days, not paying for access; I was free, but he knew I wasn't going anywhere for info. He knew more about what I was going to do than I did. If the analysts back on the main website could see what I saw, would they still want me to scoop him? More than ever, probably. And what would his people back on his board want if they ever learned just how far from them he'd really gone? He broke from them, and then he broke from himself. I'd never seen a man so broken up and ripped apart.



I worry that my son might not understand what I've tried to be. And if I were to have my credentials revoked, Billy, I would want someone to go to my home and tell my son everything. Everything I did, everything you saw, the scoops I made, the countless teens I interviewed; because there's nothing that I detest more than the stench of lies. And if you understand me, Liucci, you will do this for me.



[looking up from microphone, panicked] Don't. Don't frighten them away.

So you understand this?

Do I not?

You had immense plans...immense plans...


....I'm taking you back.