* Apologies to the Box Tops for butchering their song in the post title.
I really don’t know what to think about this, other than I know there’s shady political-like behaviour that goes into the recruiting — Andy Staples explored as much in the SEC — but this goes beyond shady to being just daffy.
I am not surprised by rumours, all of them unsourced by nature, to swirl about a recruit wanting to decommit. Everyone expects to hear a rumour once in a while of a recruit taking a visit somewhere or being visited by someone. As far as I know, authoring a phony letter from another coach advising a commit to go somewhere else is new. At least, it’s new to us. But this is seemingly the story of Willie Mobley, Ohio State and some other third party.
“I heard rumors every day until about two or three days ago,” Mobley said after signing a national letter of intent to attend Ohio State. “I knew all along I was going to be a Buckeye. It didn’t matter to me what anybody was saying.”
Along the way Mobley even received a bogus letter allegedly signed by Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel. The letter, dated Jan. 8, advised Mobley that his “football future would be best suited elsewhere.”
Of course, the curious reader immediately notes that, especially with respect to Midwest recruiting, how can anyone’s football future be better suited at some place other than Ohio State. We’ve noted before; others have noted elsewhere: you play for Jim Tressel, you play for Big Ten titles, national championship opportunities, and, when you’re done, you play on Sundays.
Somehow, the Minnesota question keeps entering here since Minnesota was, apparently, the third party to the rumour even if we don’t know it was the source of it. The most humorous of them for Mobley was having lunch at a restaurant with TE Brewster with Tubby Smith having his radio show ongoing in the same facility.
But the issue of the letter is all too important for me at least.
Mobley’s mother, Roxanne, said Tressel assured her the letter was not written by him nor any member of his staff. She displayed it at Wednesday’s signing.
Roxanne said she became suspicious because the letter, which was on Ohio State letterhead and postmarked Columbus, Ohio, read: “I know Minnesota has not had the greatest season, but in three years you would be eligible for the NFL. … If you come to Ohio State, you will be sitting behind upperclassmen for at least two years anyway, and then you never know.“
Of course, the curious reader immediately notes why in the sam hell Ohio State’s football staff would author something so silly. I can’t speak for Minnesota’s NFL credentials on defense1, but I think ours speaks for itself.
I have to know who is responsible for that letter. Whether or not it’s Minnesota’s coaching staff or just some elaborate ruse from a third party aimed at benefiting Minnesota2, I’ll go so far as to say we all have to know who is responsible for that letter in the name of honest recruiting. Whoever’s responsible should naturally feel bad for attempting to manipulate a kid, whether or not there’s anything illegal per the NCAA about it. Of course, we credit Mobley and his family for seeing through the wool on this one. Special props goes to Mobley’s mother, since moms deserve props where appropriate.
Still, I don’t think at that age in my life I would’ve thought to verify such a letter if I had received one3. Who is to say another future recruit won’t?