I'm staying out of the message boards today. There is a sinister darkness festering. It boils up every time Penn State has a recruiting setback such as we had this weekend when Northeast Philadelphia wide receiver Je'Ron Stokes verbally committed to Tennessee while on an unofficial visit.
Stokes, a 6-1, 180-pound junior at Northeast High, has made an oral commitment to Tennessee, to which he made an unofficial visit that concluded Saturday before the l-o-n-g drive back to Philly.
"I didn't picture ending the recruiting process this early," Stokes said. "But Tennessee is in my heart. Sometimes, you just know.
"I was still looking hard at Illinois, Oklahoma, Penn State, Minnesota . . . Now, those coaches can develop relationships with other guys instead of still trying to come after me and being hurt."
Here is how the equation works:
A great in-state player
Favorable depth chart
Over-optimistic recruiting analysts
Perceived laziness by PSU coaching staff
Commitment to an out of state school
|PSU Message Board Reaction|
Seriously, people, get a grip. We're talking about a 17 year-old kid believing God wants him to play football for Phil Fulmer. Some of you act like the government sent you a notice they are taking away your house to put up a Dairy Queen. I'm just as disappointed as the next guy, but the level of vitriol in the message boards is over the top. Posters calling out the "Kool-Aid Crowd". Others shouting down the "Doom-and-Gloomers". Some people are even attacking the moderators as if they had a hand in this. Give me a break. Are we in friggin' kindergarden here?
From everything I've read Stokes fell in love with Tennessee, and can you blame him? How many first round wide receivers and quarterbacks have they produced? How much love do the SEC offenses get on television? I'm not surprised any wide receiver would choose Tennessee over Penn State. But to the kid's credit, he didn't say anything bad about Penn State. And he didn't string us along until signing day (or beyond). And he didn't screw us on signing day by going with the snake-oil selling wizard. So you have to admire his class in being upfront and giving us a chance to pursue other kids.
The comments to this post will undoubtedly lead toward a discussion about the future of Penn State and Joe Paterno and his effect on recruiting. Whatever. If you're already forming the words in your head you've missed the point of this post. I'm getting more and more disgusted in the level of discourse in the message boards I used to enjoy visiting. There is something seriously disturbing about it. I just felt like something needed to be said.