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National Signing Day 2013: Just a reminder - Don't be that guy

A friendly reminder that we're spending all day analyzing the college choices of teenagers.

These guys. Still just kids.
These guys. Still just kids.

Let me tell you guys a quick recruitment story. I wasn't a football player, but I promise it'll make sense.

I was accepted to five universities as a senior: Miami of Ohio, Ohio State, BYU, Case Western Reserve, and American University, a smaller school in Washington DC. I didn't really have any interest in Miami (the application was free), and I only applied to BYU to shut my parents up. I think the exact words I used to my parents were "if BYU is the only college to accept me, I am living as a lumberjack for a year". After Ohio State accidentally sent my honors application to a different Matt Brown living in Oklahoma, my college choice was de facto down to two schools.

I changed my mind between AU and Case by the hour. I visited both schools numerous times. I had an older sister at Case. They had a marching band that badly wanted me. They offered a bigger scholarship, had stronger academics, and was closer to my hometown. American was in my Poli Sci major dream city, DC, and sent me all sorts of letters detailing how everybody on campus walked off the The West Wing and ran campaigns and stuff.

I was "committed" to Case Western until literally the last day possible, until I switched to American. I think they still have my dorm deposit actually. On paper, Case was the easy choice. You know why I switched? The chance to live and study in DC was part of it (and as much as I love Cleveland...c'mon, that isn't even a choice), but at the end of the day, my high school girlfriend was going to American, and I knew even if we broke up, AU was like, 70% women. Case, well...have you guys ever even been to Case Western? It makes Georgia Tech look like Ole Miss.

What's the point of that story?

I was a kid, and kids make their college choices for a lot of reasons, not all of them rational or farsighted. They also change their minds all the time, and having the harsh spotlight of the media shining on them all the time just amplifies that. Ask Reuben Foster.

A school might have the superior football program and opportunity, better academics, better player development, better whatever, and a kid may want to go somewhere else. It doesn't necessarily mean that Brady Hoke and Hugh Freeze are running around the country with stacks of bills, throwing them at recruits. It doesn't mean that people are necessarily *cheating*, or that recruits are self-centered. For a lot of kids, this is their first chance in a national spotlight, and maybe not everybody handles it exactly the way we'd want them to.

So, just a friendly reminder, don't be a jerk. Don't tweet at recruits and trash their decision. Actually, you probably shouldn't be tweeting at a recruit at all. Don't be that guy.

Having a modicum of perspective and charity may go a long way on Signing Day. Don't worry, there will be plenty of time to boo and hiss once they're actually in opposing pads and helmets.

Unless they go to Case Western or something.