Deontay Greenberry: A Texans-Related Grain Of Salt For College Football National Signing Day

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Deontay Greenberry: No way of telling
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."

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.

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Five stars, I tells ya!! FIVE stars!!!!
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.

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!"

It happens.

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.



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24 comments
ShockerBOB
ShockerBOB

As a Coog Fan. Excellent article. 

AnOldCoog
AnOldCoog

There is one major correction.  Greenberry is NOT the highest recruit ever for the U of H.  Maybe the highest since the Scout/Rivals last decade. 

I know, I know... I am going into ancient history that is somewhat on a tangent to your main thesis. But when we were an independent (and also in the SWC), we had several nationally ranked classes.  At times we even had the top ranked recruit at a position in the nation (See T.J. Turner and Hosea Taylor in the Defensive Line).

Sorry Sean, but Johnny-come-latelys sometimes don't have the historical frame of reference that they need.

Martin
Martin

"After all, Rivals.com says Greenberry is the 49th best player in the country, which makes him the highest recruit ever for U of H."I assume you mean the highest recruit ever for UH since the advent of Rivals because players like Warren McVea, Darrell Shepard, Wilson Whitley, Allen Polk, Lloyd Archie, Hosea Taylor, T. J. Turner, and others were among the top 10 or so players in the country when they signed with Houston.  UH's '73 and '77 classes were national top 10 and numerous others ranked in the top 20.  

@SportsHutch
@SportsHutch

I think the real question an ND alum should be asking is what the young man's real motivation was for flipping. Certainly ND is a more famous institution than UH, there is more television and media coverage in general for ND programs, and it has a larger alumni base than UH. So what really made him trade all of that for UH? Was it strictly the chance to play earlier? Was it to be a bigger fish in a slightly smaller pond? Were there trust issues involved? Did he feel he couldn't trust Kelly and/or the ND to the same level as the UH staff? Was there apprehension due to Kelly's comments earlier this year that rankled his players? Was there concern Kelly might not be there 3 or 4 years from now? I would be very curious how much of the flip was due to UH winning him over and how much might be due to issues related to Brian Kelly.

BigAggieSteve
BigAggieSteve

Funny, Sean uses the examples of crazed message board fan, and in the first comments here, crazed message board fan makes an appearance and says to gauge the importance of the recruiting by the reactions of other crazed message board fans.  Seriously, did you actually absorb the meaning of the article, or did the last statement, the one quoted in the response, drive out all comprehension to make room for the "righteous???" anger you felt at the perceived slight?  To Sean's point on this, ND has the national reputation to get recruits like this almost every year.  For UH, a recruit like this is a surprise and reason to celebrate (I guess).  National Signing Day has turned into a media circus, a self-feeding sports reporting buffet, in which other "reporters" consume and defecate the droppings of other "reporters".  It takes kids that already think they are walking Gods because of the adulation and entitlements they receive at high school and elevates them to a plane even higher, in which most of them will never achieve their true potential because they do not ever learn that it takes more than just talent to succeed at a level where everyone is as talented as you to some degree.  Fall of the Roman Empire Days are approaching, in this world where we celebrate modern day gladiators with enough vicious glee that fans think it is acceptable behavior to beat other people for simply rooting for the other team, where felons and convicts are forgiven their past sins, not because they are rehabilitated and truly contrite for their mistakes, but because they can throw or run a football better than 99% of the population. You, Craigley, are a high priest in this cult of athlete worship it would seem.  How does this supposed catastrophic loss of a superb athlete from ND to UH change your life? Does it change your income, forgive your debts, make you a different person?  I'm willing to bet that none of those things hinge on the level of recruits garnered at any University.  I suppose I am trying to say, grow up, stop using the level of athleticism at colleges that care more about your money than you as a person as a measuring stick of your own personal success, and for the love of all that is holy, use a little reading comprehension the next time.

Craigley
Craigley

Honestly, this is a much bigger win for the Cougars than it is a loss for Notre Dame?Check out ND's message board to prove yourself wrong....

Why should is surprise anyone that a WR wants to come to Houston?

Houston throws the ball.  WR's catch the ball.  Perfect match. 

eddiethegeek
eddiethegeek

Great article - but you forgot this one, which (as an ND fan I was saying to myself alot yesterday):  "If a kid is that dumb to pass up much better football and educational opportunities elsewhere, then he ain't smart enough to play for us anyway!"

Sean Pendergast
Sean Pendergast

I can only go by the parties I've talked to, Hutch. Tony Levine said to me today in studio on air and off air that the main things were (a) early playing time and (b) Deontay's relationship with Jamie Christian. Of course, Levine can't and wouldn't comment on issues DG may have had w/ Kelly. Putting the pieces together, I think if there were broader Kelly issues going back to the season (i.e. the "comments that rankled"), the kid would have done a true re-opening of his commitment much sooner and more conventionally. This really did have the appearances of a last minute swing that connected and resonated.

Again, I'm just playing the percentages and going by what I see and what I know. Unless the kid says "I had an issue with Kelly" none of us really know. But I think the indicators are that doesn't appear to be the case.

Craigley
Craigley

And FWIW, Aggy should know best about squandering talent.  All those top rated Aggy clases over the year led to nothingness but adulation and entitlements from bowtie bozos.

You just sound bitter and burned, and I don't blame you.

Maybe things will get better now that Aggy has 1/2 the old UH staff.  

Craigley
Craigley

National Signing Day has turned into a media circus by design!  That was the plan my dear Goober.It's all Marketing 101.  And it keeps people like Sean with a job.

Sean Pendergast
Sean Pendergast

Craig -- All due respect, I'm not going to use the knee jerk reaction of a bunch of people on a message board as the gauge how big a loss this was for ND. I'm not saying it wasn't a loss for ND. Of course it was. But this was a monumental recruiting win for UH, that's all I was saying. The ripple effect is program changing; I hardly think you can say the same thing about ND losing the kid.

PumaFan
PumaFan

Much better football? in which planet have you been residing for the last few decades? It may come as a surprise to you but ND football has been irrelevant and it appears that it will remain that way. Additionally, the University of Houston is a Tier One University, look it up.  When given a choice, rational people might choose to live in the thriving 4th largest city in the US rather than ....Fort Bend.

LoveHouston
LoveHouston

You mispelled "a lot" Mr. Geek. So much for that ND education!

VMS
VMS

Notre Dame is a great instituition, but so is the University of Houston.  Maybe you're too much of an elitest to notice, but we've been pretty good for some time now.  You'll come off better if you stick to praising you're school instead of throwing stones at one you know nothing about.

Justin Mayberry
Justin Mayberry

The irony in your comment is fantastic. You must not have gotten the great "educational opportunities" about which you speak. "Alot" is two words.

cougar
cougar

 you and sean read aesop much?

BigAggieSteve
BigAggieSteve

Thank you, Craigley, for proving all my points about you.  Can you think outside the school?  I can.  The college football team of the university I attended does not define me as a person.  Obviously, it is all you have.  I would not be surprised if you are just a tshirt fan.  For some reason, they seem more rabid than fans that attended the school.  More than likely, it is a compensation technique for short comings in personality, appendages, or life in general.

Sean Pendergast
Sean Pendergast

To be fair, I think I'd have a job without National Signing Day and without radio. I have many talents.

Pipez
Pipez

As a UH Alum, I agree Sean. This won't be the first or last time ND loses out on a highly ranked recruit (not that they didn't do the opposite with their QB recruit), but it is the first time in 2-3 decades UH has gotten a recruit this highly ranked (but not the first time ever).

But why wouldn't a receiver want to come to a team who just ranked in the top 25 with perennial top 10 offense. Levine knows he has to keep up with the offenses of Yeoman, Jenkins, Briles and Sumlin/Holgorsen, and thats his plan. This is the first class to come in knowing they will play in the Big East.

H_e_x
H_e_x

The irony is strong with this one.

Andrew P Wood
Andrew P Wood

"The college football team of the university I attended does not define me as a person."  says the guy with an A&M avatar and Aggie in his handle.  SMH

Michael
Michael

With all due respect, if I had a time machine I would go back to before I had read this blog post. Worthless. I learned nothing except that Sean Pendergast has something against the University of Houston. 

How will I sleep tonight? Like a baby. 

Sean Pendergast
Sean Pendergast

I'm not necessarily surprised he picked UH over ND, I am surprised that it happened as fast as it did. The kid obviously wants to play early and in an offense that will throw it. During the break in the show today, Coach Levine said big part of his pitch was "Someone's gonna get 100 catches, why not you?" Really like Coach Levine.

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