January 4, 2009

Recruiting Op: In Randall's defense

I can't pretend that I know too much about Randall Carroll.

I know that USC offered him a scholarship in September 2007. I know that he said he was going to play football at USC.

And, I know his actions and words since then have been fodder for disappointment, excitement and plenty of message board discussions.

Saturday during the U.S. Army All-America, Carroll's facial expression during taped spot with the rest of USC's verbal commitments caused an instant stir.

"Could he look less like he wants to be a Trojan?" was a typical response.

Now, Carroll's facial expressions/general attitude during the spot weren't all that inspiring, considering Carroll's recruiting history.

From the beginning, the speedy five-star wide receiver and track star said he wanted to take his official visits.

Carroll visited Cal in November and called the visit a "10" out of 10. He's also set a visit at Arizona State. He's expressed interest in taking trips to SEC schools like Tennessee and Florida.

Making matters worse, at least in the eyes of some, Carroll seems to be honest - brutally honest.

Ladies, it would not be a good idea to ask Carroll if you look fat in your dress if you, in fact, do look fat in your dress.

He said he's felt underappreciated by the USC coaching staff, saying he doesn't trust some of the stuff the staff is saying to him.

He's mentioned concern about the Trojans' ability to develop receivers who have success on Sundays in the NFL.

All of this has meant Carroll's commitment to USC is softer than this guy.

And, after some serious thinking on the matter, that's OK.

Picking a college for an ordinary, average high school student is stressful enough. When I decided to attend a university, I didn't do so by sitting down my family and friends, pulling out three hats and faking to the Princeton one before putting the Michigan State cap on my head.

High-profile players like Carroll are almost expected to make a major production of their commitment. Maybe, Carroll would prefer to know exactly what's out there before he takes the final plunge.

He's like a guy the month before his wedding, going out for one last night on the town with wide-eyes and plenty of singles.

This is a huge decision in Carroll's life. He's allowed to waver. He should be allowed to be weary.

He's 17-years-old, and he's obviously confused. He probably should've never committed so early or stayed committed so long.

But, I'm going to cut him some slack. He's said some things that haven't been easy to hear, but in the end, he's truly trying to do what's best for him.

And, when it comes to a decision like this, that's what you have to do.

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