After one of the most important recruiting weekends in the history of Washington State University, Coug fans everywhere are on pins and needles awaiting verbal commitments from these players. The internet is a great thing, but it also fuels rumors, speculation, and unfounded optimism. For example, I can report that WR Gabe Marks did commit to WSU, but he still wants to take visits in hopes of a better offer. That would be me 100% making up a story, but it wouldn't necessarily be incorrect. If I said some random player had WSU "high atop his list", and then that recruit went elsewhere, I wouldn't necessarily be incorrect. My sources could tell me a player was very close to committing to WSU, and then the player could commit to a different school after something changed. Again, I wouldn't necessarily be incorrect. Around this time of year, being right takes a back seat to being first.
Every rumor should be taken with a grain of salt, but everything anyone says before signing day should be taken with a grain of salt. Not just rumors. Everything. Players de-commit. Teams pull offers. These things are unfortunate, but they are also part of the overall process. I'll never get mad at a kid for switching up his commitment, even if it's at the last second.
If you read an interview with a recruit after a weekend visit, and he says he enjoyed his time on campus, don't think that automatically makes WSU his leader. The whole point of a visit is to tell the kid how awesome he is. The school pays for everything. Older players host these young high schoolers, telling them how cool they are and how much the team needs them. What the heck are the players supposed to say during an interview? Of course they had a good time. That's like interviewing someone after they play laser tag. Of course they're going to say it was awesome. Just because they loved playing laser tag doesn't mean they're going to start working at Laser Quest.
These kids are 17 and 18-years-old. They must decide where they spent the next four to five years of their lives. Education, atmosphere, fit within the offensive or defensive system, and about a million other things come into play. Kids are also ridiculous. Do you remember being that age? Here's an awesome story for everyone:
When I was 17, I was living at home with my parents, and working at Albertsons. I was a Courtesy Clerk, which is fancy for "bagger, cart gatherer, and absolute lowest man on the totem pole". You had to be 18 to work in the Customer Service Center, but I got promoted early anyway. My mom worked at Costco, and they also offered me a job when I turned 18. I turned it down to stay at Albertsons, even though Costco would have paid me almost $3 an hour more. Why? Because of a girl.
I'm not saying all recruits commit because they like the sororities on campus, but it's definitely been a deciding factor more than once. Kids read internet message boards and cross schools off their list because of stuff anonymous people say, so I'll never be surprised when it comes to recruiting.
The moral of the story is this:
Recruiting season is a whirlwind of speculation, rumor, and indecision. Until a player faxes in his signed Letter of Intent, I'm not going to feel comfortable counting on any of these kids being 100% committed. Kids are always solidly committed, until they're not.