There are some lessons to be learned for all college prospects after a 3-star recruit from North Carolina committed to Florida but later discovered he was “catfished” by somebody pretending to be a Gators coach on Twitter.
Yes, this really happened. Last Friday, defensive end Houshun Gaines of Rocky Mount, N.C., had a commitment ceremony at his high school at put on a baseball cap from the Florida Gators.
Gaines claimed he had been in contact over Twitter with a Florida assistant. However, it appears the assistant was an imposter, according to Rocky Mount Telegram’s Andrew Ivins.
That’s the first lesson: Whenever you’re ready to commit, make sure your high school coach talks directly to the college head coach over the telephone in advance to confirm that (1) you have an offer and (2) your commitment will be accepted.
Literally every day on Twitter, there are kids committing to colleges who are good players but don’t have real offers from those colleges. I can think of one example that comes instantly to my mind involving Georgia Tech, and another one regarding UGA and a local prospect. There are truly countless examples.
Back to Gaines: Another reason he was confused by Florida is because the Gators stopped by his high school last year and made an early scholarship offer, according to his coach.
That leads us to our second lesson: Early offers are not always committable offers. I’d bet 80% of early offers made before the summer between a high school player’s junior and senior year are simply “this is an offer to come to our summer college camp and audition for a real offer.”
So how do you know if you really have a current committable offer? Back to the first answer: Have your high school coach talk directly with the college head coach.
The final lesson is this: I realize that Twitter and Facebook are the most popular ways for a prospect and college coach to communicate these days. But if you’re a kid and you’re not talking to the college over the telephone on a weekly or a bi-weekly basis, you’re simply not a priority for that college at this time.
On a lighter note, give this kid some credit. He had a good attitude on Twitter after being involved in the embarrassing situation: