It's been about 20 or so days since the class of 2015 signed their respective LOIs. Right now schools are headed into junior days and 2016 recruiting is about to heat up.
And I genuinely couldn't care less.
I followed 2015 recruiting closely. Probably a little too closely. I started following recruiting in the first place because I really like looking at the depth chart and wondering how we put together the pieces necessary for a solid team. I like looking at possible starters, 2nd teams, depth etc, and the only way to really get a sense of how that works is to be somewhat invested in the recruitment process.
But in the weeks following NSD 2015, I've realized that the Class of 2015 was a really weird one and one that was difficult to follow--and in some sense the Class of 2015 kind of ruined the fun of following recruiting for me. The drama, reliance on social media, and ebbs and flows (more than the normal ebbs and flows--we're talking tsunamis and hurricanes on what seemed like a weekly basis following the dead period) just wore me out and I've come to realize that it's made me care very little about the Class of 2016. Upon further reflection I've figured out that there are three key reasons why I got burnt out following the class of 2015.
It felt like this group of recruits knew that there were folks out there (like me) hanging on every word/tweet/sign--and to an extent the class of 2015 had fun with it--resulting in mixed messages and a ton of stress for us recruitniks.
Let's look at Damarkus Lodge for example. He committed to A&M shortly after Kyler Murray pulled the trigger. He was then rumored to be talking about possibly decommitting while at the Nike Opening in the Summer of 2014. After officially decommitting he wore A&M socks to the Under Armour event. When asked about them he laughed it off and said they were just socks. Later, after visiting UT with Kyler Murray, he was rumored to have been wearing an Ole Miss shirt during his in-home with with Charlie Strong.
And Twitter. Holy hell, Twitter. The tweets that drove folks crazy. Let's just remember a few of them
January 2, 2015
December 30, 2014
January 21, 2015
#GigEm pic.twitter.com/pLtadejI6y— HOLTON HILL (@Hollywood__5) January 24, 2015
January 27, 2015
Think about this...that last one from Daylon was from after he'd "silently committed" to A&M while on his official visit.
This group certainly knew how to make the puppets dance.
From the A&M perspective, recruiting has been pretty fun over the past couple of years--especially when it came to winning battles against the Horns. I remember following junior days during Mack Brown's prime and just hoping that a few guys didn't pull the trigger so that we could get them on campus.
While (in my opinion) A&M still has most of the recruiting momentum in the state, there was a constant fear (especially immediately following the Malik Jefferson commitment) that that momentum could come to a screeching halt. Many of us who have followed recruiting for a while flashed back to those bad days where A&M was happy to just get an under the radar visit from a guy like Cedric Reed. UT fans were ready to get the momentum back and A&M fans were somewhat nervous about losing the momentum we had.
We can discuss all day long what current momentum looks like but when you combine this concept with the first one I referenced (where recruits carried influence with other recruits), each recruiting battle became not about a player on the depth chart--but rather about the larger battle for in state supremacy. It wasn't just about scheme and fit, it was about something bigger that could have a long lasting impact.
All of these artificial constructs were addicting to follow...and much like any addiction have left me with a hangover that I'm still trying to get over. I want to care about the Class of 2016. I want to care about the fact that the horns picked up a great QB in Shane Buechele--because although we didn't offer him we might still go after him down the road...but I just really don't care. I don't care because as the class of 2015 showed me a commitment in February of 2015 might not mean a darn thing and stressing out about losing a player right now doesn't matter because there's a good chance that player will give me something to stress out about over the next year.
So yeah. I'm not sure how to get over this feeling (bitterness? tiredness?) related to recruiting right now. I fully recognize that it's all my fault--no one made me follow anything...but this group of recruits was just flat out exhausting.
Never have I ever been so ready for a national signing day...and never have I had less anticipation for the next cycle of recruiting than this year.
The good thing is that I have Aggie Basketball to fill my time.