Commentary: Dwyer's Jacoby Brissett, Curt Maggitt are hot prospects sick of the recruiting dance
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
by Greg Stoda
Photos by Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post
Dwyer's Curt Maggitt (left) and Jacoby Brisett say they're glad to have the chance to be recruited by major colleges, but they're glad the process is almost done.
PALM BEACH GARDENS -- There's a distinct line between courtship and obsession, yet college football recruiters routinely cross it with impunity. They are unapologetic. They see it as necessary aspect of their profession, which, in fact, is an evil truth.
But from the players' point of view?
As swell as it is to be wanted, enough can get to be enough.
That was the topic of discussion last Friday morning at William T. Dwyer High School in anticipation of Wednesday's national signing day and the meat-market frenzy it generates.
Panthers quarterback Jacoby Brissett sat in an otherwise empty classroom talking about how "my mom gets headaches" with so many strangers calling and always seeming to know where she is.
Panthers defensive end Curt Maggitt leaned against a locker in an otherwise empty hallway talking about recruiters and how "you can find out who has the most integrity, but you can't trust any of them, really."
How's that for an indictment of the system? And nobody understands the circus better than the prep superstars who are objects of the coaches' affections, because they're the ones in the center ring. Brissett, Maggitt and seniors like them often go into hiding to relax in the comfort of blessed silence once the chase for their services hits stretch-run madness.
Don't get them wrong.
They're kids, and they've had more than a few good times along the way.
Brissett, Maggitt and teammate Nick O'Leary, a tight end verbally committed to Florida State, are three of the area's top 5 recruits and have enjoyed the attention that goes with the status of being big men on campus. And because Dwyer has become a must-visit state powerhouse for recruiters from across the country (Brissett took trips to Washington and Wisconsin), these Panthers got up-close looks at the recruiting process a long time ago. Brissett was first contacted as a freshman, he said, and Maggitt watched his older brother, Roosevelt, choose Iowa State from among a group of suitors.
They knew what was coming, in other words.
But nothing can prepare anybody for an existence in the eye of the gathering storm that is the national signing day rush.
"It gets old," Maggitt said, "but it's something I've worked hard for. I'm trying to appreciate everything. I've had new experiences and met new people, but, yeah, it'll be good to get it over with."
One of the things Brissett doesn't understand is why recruiters don't grasp the idea that less can be more.
"It pretty much takes the fun out of it when they're always after you," Brissett said. "If they know you're interested in them and you're going to make them one of your official visits, they should know that a call and a voice mail is better than more calls and voice mails the same day. They don't need to talk to me every minute.
"It's a show of respect. If they can listen to me now, it's a sign they'll listen to me down the road. It intrudes on your life when someone is trying to control everything. Sometimes, you just want to be by yourself."
The recruiters' standard rebuttal is that staying out of touch with a prospect even for a day when contact is allowed could be misinterpreted as a sudden lack of interest. It's a business model rooted in fear. There's a never-ending notion that a rival recruiter might touch any base left momentarily ignored. It's why more than two dozen college representatives visited Dwyer in a single day last week.
The whole operation is an exercise in speculation, anyway, because nobody can determine with any certainty which valued recruit will be a great college player and which one will be a bust. And they're supposed to be experts in the field. Experts, in fact, whose livelihoods could well depend on the evaluations they make.
"You'd like to believe they always have the player's best interests at heart, and I think most of them do," said Dwyer coach Jack Daniels, "but I've seen a lot of hurt, too."
Brissett and Maggitt aren't likely to get hurt in this process regardless if they sign Wednesday or wait until later.
"I've been keeping calm about stuff," Maggitt said. "I'll know when the time is right and it won't be a mystery anymore."
Brissett's take was that "there's no need to rush" simply because the signing period begins.
"I'm just trying to get back to happy," Brissett said.
Isn't that how a proper courtship is supposed to end?