It seems nowadays everywhere you look football players are popping up in the news for being arrested. Charges range from domestic violence to sexual assault to firearm offenses. A lot of the time you see these incidents happening at top-tier programs and it makes you wonder, "Why does this keep happening?". I believe this could be avoided if coaches overlooked talent and focused on players' character.
I am all for giving someone a second chance to prove themselves but I'm not one for 3rd and 4th chances. Since I focus primarily on recruiting I follow a lot of young players on Twitter and see what they post. Yes, these kids are 17 and 18 years old but some of the stuff they tweet are precursors to the things to come. When recruiting services give some of these guys 4 and 5-star ratings they think they are invincible and what they do won't affect their future. I believe this is what starts the spiral downwards. When everyone is catering to these kids they think they can get away with anything. It starts with recruiting and keeps building once they get to a top-tier program.
Sure, these top-rated recruits are good and their talents lead teams to championships and rake in money for the university but the player is just a pawn in the scheme of things. If coaches and universities coached the players on character building and morals as much as they do the game of football we would not constantly see players in the news for breaking laws.
According to arrestnation.com, there have been 21 arrests involving Florida State football players since September 2010. Some of those arrests involve second and third time offenders. Since September 2010 there have been 25 arrests involving University of Florida football players, this is also via arrestnation.com. As you can see, there are a lot of players getting arrested. Many of these arrests could be limited if coaches and university officials focused on the players' well-being as much as they do football. In football, coaches use practice and film to judge how a player is doing and if they could implement some sort of program to keep up with a player off the field it would drastically help young men follow the right path.
One thing I really like about the 2016 recruiting class for Texas Tech is that they're going after high-character guys. While these recruits aren't the top rated talent, they do have a solid head on their shoulders. I hardly ever see questionable tweets coming from these guys and I see a lot more "we" tweets than "me" tweets. I think building a strong character base to build a program around will pay off in the future versus a program just focusing on players because of their talent.
I know this post is different from my usual recruiting articles but it's an issue I wanted to address. I am very happy with the guys we have coming to Texas Tech and expect these guys to be both leaders on and off the field. While you'll continue to see players at top-tier programs getting arrested time and time again, Texas Tech will find their players doing the right thing and that's just as much a win to me as winning a football game.