Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Football recruiters shouldn't go after teenagers

ESPN studio host Lowell Galindo (left), analyst Robert Smith, former Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer and recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill talk during a break Wednesday, February 2, 2011. The four discussed the college football programs that high school football players chose on National Signing Day.

About a month ago, I watched as my 14-year-old brother, Ethan, swung his JanSport backpack over his shoulder and headed out the door for his first day of high school. His nerves and anxiety in the buildup leading to this new experience were visibly evident. In making these observations, I couldn’t help but think back to my high school experience two years ago.

From girlfriend trouble, father issues, studying for the next big test and worrying about who's the most popular, there were a variety of topics on my mind from day to day as a normal 15- and 16-year-old kid.

Both Ethan and I were not alone in our scattered mindsets.

With 30 percent of teens reporting feeling overwhelmed and another 31 percent admitting to depression and sadness due to everyday stress, the American Psychological Association showed in a 2013 survey that teenagers experience higher levels of stress than adults.

Now imagine being a 14, 15 or 16-year-old kid, dealing with higher stress levels than your own parents. On top of that, you have a large group of adults pulling you in different directions, trying to persuade and influence a decision you won’t make for several more years.

That’s the life and reality for many, many athletically gifted teenagers being recruited by college coaches around the country.

It should not be right for someone focused on getting their driver’s permit or license to be forced into a mindset and situation where they are now thinking about what college to go to and the potential ramifications it can have on disagreeing family members, friends and coaches.

The act of offering scholarships to young kids has become quite common in college football. Top programs such as South Carolina, LSU and Florida have not only offered high school underclassmen in the past year, but middle-school students as well.

That’s right. Boys who haven’t even hit the midpoint of puberty are receiving offers from schools to come and play football for them, five or six years down the road.

Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze has even gone on record of agreeing with my theory.

"If I could draw up any way I wanted, I’d say we couldn’t offer anybody until after his junior season. That would best for all the high schools, the student-athletes, and us in college. I don’t know if that makes sense to you. I’m not for it, but I’m guilty of it,” Freeze told in March.

Unfortunately, this type of recruiting isn’t just segregated to college football. College basketball has joined the too-early-to-offer recruiting party as well. Different sport, same level of irrationality and stupidity.

"It's pretty crazy. It should be a violation. You shouldn't be recruiting 10-year-old kids."

Those were the words of LeBron James to CBS Detroit last season, after his 10-year-old son (yes, 10-years-old) received several college offers.

If we are trying to raise this generation of kids to put academics and schoolwork first, then what type of educational endorsement are colleges giving by offering a scholarship to such young men? This is giving kids a serious incentive to put all their time and effort into their respective sport in order to achieve the free ride into college, rendering good grades in high school nearly pointless.

Once again, college programs should not be allowed to recruit or offer scholarships to athletes under age 17.

I could speak on this subject for hours, but in closing, I will let LeBron James speak for me.

Another statement from his interview with CBS Detroit:

"My son is going to be a kid as long as he can be, that's all he needs to worry about. He loves to play the game of basketball, he loves to play video games, he loves to do his homework. That's all that matters. Everything else doesn't matter. He loves his brother, his sister, his dad, his mom, his grandmom. Let him be a kid."

Agreed, LeBron, 100 percent agreed.

Related Links:

ASU football lands commitment from 2016 athlete Kyle Williams

ASU football recruiting part 1: the basics

Reach the columnist at or follow @spencer_hann on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

Want to join the conversation? Send an email to Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.