In what might be a first in recruiting, Tennessee offered 20 players at a single school in one day.
That school is IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Coach Kevin Wright took to Twitter to list the players who received offers from the Volunteers, with 13 from the Class of 2017, six from the Class of 2018 and one from the Class of 2019.
That group includes Dylan Moses, a linebacker considered among the top 5 overall players in the Class of 2017, as well as Top 10 players at their respective positions such as safety Isaiah Pryor, inside linebacker Will Ignont and defensive end Joshua Kaindoh.
The move also comes on the heels of criticism of IMG this week from the head of the Texas High School Coaches Association.
THSCA president Glen West said that IMG could “destroy our profession.” He later clarified that he was not specifically talking about IMG only, but rather using IMG as an example. No other school was mentioned. He also urged Texas schools not to schedule games against IMG.
Here is the text of West’s letter that references IMG:
As president of THSCA, I would like to make you aware of a growing movement that I feel can destroy our profession as we know it. At the current moment, IMG Academy has actively recruited three of our top Texas high school football players to play their senior season for their traveling football team. The reason given for these young athletes to attend this academy is to better prepare for the next level of competition. I adamantly disagree with that reasoning. With every fiber of my body, I feel that the best people to prepare them for the next level are YOU, the COACHES IN THIS STATE. It is my opinion these athletes were cherry picked to attend these academies to build their resumes. The intent is for other athletes with big dreams to also attend these academies for a large price. The paying athletes would attend hoping for the same opportunities as those that were recruited. You, as coaches, can stand proud knowing that WE are in this business not to profit off of our athletes.
There are ways our schools can keep these organizations from co-mingling with our student athlete. 1) Make your parents aware of camps and combines designed to recruit traveling teams. 2) Don’t schedule these traveling teams for competition. 3) Don’t allow your facilities to be used for these events. I will leave you with a quote from the IMG Academy Showcase Brochure, “Preps2Prospect serves as a bridge between the athlete and college coach.” Coaches, we have to FIGHT to remain our athlete’s mentors as they make life decisions.
In a statement, IMG co-managing director and athletic director Greg Phillips said:
We understand and respect THSCA president Glen West’s position with regards to the challenges facing high school coaches in this increasingly competitive athletic environment. IMG Academy is a very unique environment set up to maximize a student-athlete’s development, and we recognize it is not for everyone. Enrolling at IMG requires a special commitment and sacrifice by a family. There are excellent coaches and programs available at public and private schools around the nation and ultimately a family needs to choose what is best for their child to maximize development.