Editor’s note: USA TODAY High School Sports reporter Jim Halley held a roundtable discussion with the parents of three of the nation’s top five recruits: Terry Lacy-Little, the mother of Ole Miss commit Greg Little, an offensive tackle from Allen, Texas; Tony Eason, the father of Lake Stevens, Wash., quarterback Jacob Eason, an early enrollee at Georgia; and Jennifer Coney, the mother of Rashan Gary, a defensive tackle from Paramus Catholic (Paramus, N.J.), who is expected to announce his college choice next week on signing day. All are American Family Insurance ALL-USA selections. Gary was named ALL-USA Defensive Player of the Year and Eason was ALL-USA Offensive Player of the Year. The discussion covered several hot topics regarding recruiting and the recruiting process.
Here is Part 1 of the discussion: The recent mobility of college football coaches.
Did the number of coaching changes affect your son’s decision?
Coney: That wasn’t really a factor. I want Rashan to go to the school he’s going to feel the most comfortable with. The coach may change next season, but if you’re at a school you truly love, you will make adjustments for the football.
Eason: I totally agree with that. You can’t make a decision based on the coaches. Initially what drew Jake to Georgia was Mike Bobo (a former Georgia assistant who is now the head coach at Colorado State), but Jake did his research on the school and he really liked Georgia and that’s why he stuck with it. (Kirby Smart replaced Mark Richt after the season as head coach and hired Jim Chaney as offensive coordinator.) The coaches run a system that still fits Jake. If they came in with more of a running quarterback type thing, it wouldn’t have worked for him. We would have been disappointed and we would have had to go somewhere. You have to look at the whole package and not just the relationship with the coach.
Lacy-Little: That’s what I told Gregory. You may love this school because you love that coach, but you cannot pick a school based on a coach. You have to look at things like, for him being a left tackle, are you a better run blocker or a pass blocker? You have to look at who’s in front of you. Would you get to play? Just the total feel of the school.
Eason: It’s so volatile. The assistant coaches come and go like the wind.
Coney: That’s a good way to describe that.
Lacy-Little: It’s funny that they say how much they love the school and the school is the best thing and all this wonderful stuff. And then all of a sudden, there’s a new school (the coaches) feel that way about. It’s kind of hard, when all of a sudden, you hear, ‘He’s gone?’ OK, you can’t pick a school on a coach.
Coney: I think the sell is the campus itself. These guys are going to tell me everything that I want to hear. And they’re going to pitch that to me. It’s not what they tell me, but it’s what I see and what I feel. I can see that with Rashan when he really likes a place. But, if he’s nonchalant, like he really doesn’t care, I know that’s not the school for him.
Next up: What the group would do differently if they were starting the recruiting process anew.