Deontay Greenberry: A Texans-Related Grain Of Salt For College Football National Signing Day
There was a time not too long ago when the last-minute defection of wide receiver Deontay Greenberry from my alma mater Notre Dame to the University of Houston would have sent me into a mental funk that would have taken me a week from which to recover. After all, Greenberry is a dynamic "four star recruit" who "almost got a fifth star from Rivals.com."
Deontay Greenberry: No way of telling
And if that previous sentence and all of its mentions of these mythical stars makes no sense to you, consider yourself lucky.
As you probably know, Rivals.com is a college football/basketball recruiting website (and fellow member of the Yahoo! family, along with my employer, 1560 The Game, Yahoo! Sports Radio's flagship affiliate) that is in the business of ranking, rating, and reporting on college football and basketball prospects across the country. Additionally, you can watch high school video of your favorite recruits dominating other high school kids, and interact on message boards with fellow fan(atics) of your favorite school.
In short, it's one of the best-run, go-to websites on the internet and is considered the gold standard for recruiting information and conjecture. It is the Johnny Walker Black of college recruiting websites.
Five stars, I tells ya!! FIVE stars!!!!
However, much like Mr. Walker's fine scotch, if it is consumed improperly and in portions too large, it can dominate your life, crush your soul, and leave you with a massive headache in the morning.
Yesterday was college football's national signing day, so college football fans everywhere were rightfully interested in which high school players their favorite school signed to replenish their talent supply. Rivals.com gives us exactly what we need in a neat little package -- video clips, pictures, scouting reports, and a star rating telling us how good the player is.
They do all the work for us!
And because it is literally impossible for 99.99 percent of us to watch the high school games (or even the highlights) of so many potential recruits and formulate opinions of our own, Rivals.com has evolved into our common recruiting language and their ratings have morphed into gospel.
So when Les Miles loses four-star defensive end Torshiro Davis out of Shreveport to Texas on a signing-day change of heart, LSU fans (practically all of whom have only seen 60 seconds worth of Davis' highlights and his four-star rating on Rivals.com) see this as a call to action to decapitate Miles' career. That is, if they're not saying that "Davis wasn't that good anyway, and we don't need him."
Amazingly and illogically, most fans actually do both. "Fire Les Miles for losing out on this kid who actually isn't that good!"
I'll admit that there was a time when I was way too wrapped up in the "star ratings" of Rivals.com, when quarterback Gunner Kiel's defection from LSU (poor Miles) to Notre Dame would have sent me keyboard-sprinting to the TigerBait.com message boards to gloat and ask "Boudreau in Baton Rouge" how it feels to lose a five-star quarterback.
However, eventually you sit through enough top-ten recruiting classes at your school (Notre Dame has had four in the last six seasons) with no actual top-ten finishes on the field, and you realize that there are far more variables that lead to on-field success than just "How good does the kid look on high school film?" and "What grade did the Rivals guys give him?"
The easiest example I can come up with for this reading audience to translate Rivals.com "star-speak" into a conclusion that "a) scouting high schoolers is a wild crap shoot and b) even when a kid is talented, he still needs to be coached up" is the Texans' 2011 defense.