School important for all athletes

Published 9:52 pm Friday, February 5, 2010

College football recruiting has become almost a sport all its own.

Teams compete, experts release rankings and millions of fans across the country swap rumors and hang on every bit of news.

The latest recruiting season concluded, for the most part, with National Signing Day on Wednesday. The first Wednesday in February is actually the first day prospects can sign National Letters of Intent. Some high-profile players choose to wait and continue to weigh their options. Most, however, want to be a part of the festivities that include pep rallies at high schools and coaches giving press conferences to talk about their classes.

The attention surrounding Signing Day gets more remarkable every year, as does something else about recruiting: the age of the players being recruited.

Only high school seniors signed Wednesday, but coaches recruit players much younger. Like, oh, 13. That’s the age of David Sills, a quarterback from Delaware who recently committed to USC.

The important for grade school athletes to remember is that Sills—and, really, all the players that receive scholarship offers from major college programs—is the exception rather than the rule. To prove the point, no football player from a Chilton County school signed on Signing Day. A few will be lucky enough to continue their football careers and receive a free education in the meantime.

But the overwhelming majority of senior football players in the county are now done with football forever. They’ll have to rely on what they accomplished in the classroom to make a successful life.

No matter how good a player thinks he or she might be at football, basketball, baseball or what ever other sport, academics should still be the first priority.