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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

AHA Defensive End Decommits to Minnesota

Brendan Kelly, a 6'-6" 235 lb. 3-star recruit with 4.79 speed, has withdrawn his verbal commitment to the Gophers according to the StarTribune's Chip Scoggins. I've seen Kelly play five times this year, and while he was a bit up and down, he shows good speed off the edge (for a HS DE) and his frame has not really filled out yet, so his 3-star status is legit, and this is a real loss for Coach Brewster and the dwindling "Gopher Nation."
Yes, his early commit was as soft as they come (he never stopped entertaining invitations for official visits to other schools), but there are two reasons it is interesting. First, of course, is the question of what kind of dark this is for the Minnesota program. I haven't a clue, although you can count me in the skeptical camp, if for no other reason than their inability to lock-up the local talent after it was made such a public point of emphasis. Only Champlin Park's Sam Maresh remains of the state's stable of top five players, as the rest seek greener pastures out of state.
Second, however, is more of a cultural question, which requires a little shot at my old school (and Troglotyke #1's current school). Holy Angels brands itself around confidence, preparedness, and connecting in faith. OK, where does going back on your word (in the newspaper, mind you) fit into that? Just wondering.
This verbal commit business with sports scholarships has been going on for at least a decade, so, in some sense, it's hard to fault young Mr. Kelly for playing along. But, if it's so soft, why bother making it? And if college coaches are really looking for "stand-up guys," if they are really looking for "character athletes," then why ask a high school kid to make this kind of cheesy commit? If I were a booster, I'd be looking for how much talent shows up in the fall, not non-committal commits worth slightly more than MSVaporware. Nevertheless, when we tolerate meaningless commitment when it comes to something we culturally value like leisure, is it any wonder that things like "marriage" and "family" get reduced to a punch line in "real life?"
[submitted by e-mail]

Update:

I apologize to Mr. Kelly. I have it from sources close to the program that there were other factors that influenced the change of mind. After learning the circumstances of his decision, I agree with him and support the decision. I am not at liberty to reveal the details, but keep in mind that in any committed relationship, it takes two to tango.

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