Monday, June 29, 2009

Good grief

What percentage of Little League World Series players do you think end up in the major leagues? Probably a pretty low number, right?

That's because there's a TON of development that takes place during the teenage years (pretty much all of it, actually), so trying to project what a kid will look like -- not to mention how good a player he'll be -- in five or six years is an exercise in futility.

That certainly doesn't deter Lane Kiffin, though, who continues to break his own record for most bizarre things done in one offseason:
The entire process has been accelerated. In fact, it's now so fast that one rising star has decided where to play his college football even though he hasn't played a down of high school football. The player is Evan Berry of Fairburn, Ga., the younger brother of Tennessee super safety Eric Berry.
In case you're not sure what that's trying to say, 13-year-old Evan Berry -- who hasn't yet reached high school -- verbally committed Friday to play football at Tennessee. His commitment doesn't mean a whole lot, of course -- even verbals from high schoolers don't mean much at this point -- but the whole thing just seems disturbing.

From Kiffin's point of view, I understand what he's trying to do -- it just seems a little unethical (to say the least). If you lock in a potential star, you don't have to worry much about losing him later on, and a scholarship offer can always be withdrawn if the player fails to meet certain standards.

But the kid has barely hit puberty. I know, I know, it's his decision and his family has a legacy at Tennessee and blah blah blah ... but Kiffin could have done the professional thing and told him to focus on high school first and then, later in the process, make more of an educated decision on where he wants to spend his college years.

This is why I don't want to hear it from coaches who whine about decommitments: As the old saying goes, you reap what you sow.

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