Big East

Louisville Pulls Dukes Offer

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After parting ways with Fern Creek RB and UofL commit Jerrell Moore earlier this week, the Louisville coaching staff has pulled the offer of Chris Dukes, a three-star defensive back from Cincinnati Colerain, who was verbally committed to the Cards.

Each time this happens, it prompts a heated discussion about the ethics of college football recruiting. While I won’t get into my feelings on the nature of recruiting in general, I would like to offer some thoughts on the practice of pulling offers.

First, let me state I don’t care for pulling offers to committed kids. To me, if you throw out a committable offer to a kid, and by all accounts, Dukes received just that, and he commits, you honor it. There are situations where recruits are told, we have other guys higher on our board, if we don’t get them, we’ll offer you, or this is a conditional offer, don’t commit until we know what’s going on with other guys (I paraphrased a bit, but you get the point).

Those types of offers happen all the time, but they do not bother me because the recruit knows where they stand. That does not appear to be the case in the Chris Dukes situation. Dukes received a legit offer and in my opinion, it should have been honored.

However, as much as I don’t like the practice of pulling offers to committed prospects, I understand why it happens.

A lot of big time recruits wait until very close to Signing Day before deciding. Coaches have only so many scholarships to give each year and if a few highly ranked prospects, who you have rated higher than a few guys already committed, decide to commit to you, do you not take their commitment?

Remember, coaches are paid based largely on wins and losses and the best way to win is with good players.

Coaches have to have their bases covered. Rather than putting all their eggs in one recruit’s basket, you take a commitment from a lesser ranked guy, then if the higher ranked player commits later, you deal with it.

Louisville already has a large number of defensive back commitments and just received another from highly ranked cornerback Andrew Johnson. Perhaps the coaching staff felt they were one DB over their limit and someone (Dukes) had to be the odd man out.

I don’t know, I’m not privy to the Louisville recruiting board, but I do know this happens quite often. And speaking of that, it is important to understand this indeed happens everywhere.

Joker Phillips took heat a short time ago for doing the same thing and we all remember the Bobby Petrino/Brad Durham debacle about four years ago. If you scour the world wide webs, you will find instances of offers being pulled in the SEC, ACC, Pac-10, etc.

As unsavory as the act may be to some, myself included, it does happen everywhere. By saying that, I’m not attempting to approve the practice, I’m simply trying to point out it’s not an uncommon thing to occur.

At the end of the day, this type of thing is a regular occurrence, particularly in big time, high stakes football recruiting. Maybe this is something we need to get used to with Charlie Strong because he will recruit highly ranked players and if they continue to wait until around Signing Day before deciding, some lesser ranked guys could find themselves left out.

However, that doesn’t mean I have to like it.