It is never good for a major football program to be extending its reach to places it doesn't belong.
The Alabama Crimson Tide have a bit of an issue on their hands, as assistant coach Jeremy Pruitt is being accused of convincing former Washington High recruit Darius Paige to transfer to Foley High School.
According to the Pensacola News Journal, Washington High assistant coach George Schellang had this to say regarding the incident:
"Darius came in the office one day during the summer after coach (Mike) Smith left and sat down and told me coach Pruitt, who is the Alabama coach who was recruiting him, wanted him to go to Foley High School. Basically, he said (Foley High) could take care of him academically."
I understand that the recruiting process is dog-eat-dog, and coaches need to do everything they possibly can to bring in the best players they can, but this might cross the line.
It is unfair for a coach—who is supposed to be looking out for a player's best interests—to tell a player that he needs to change high schools. Sure, it might help him academically and on the field, but it essentially removes a high school student from his friends and a familiar environment.
What makes this more concerning is that Paige was academically ineligible last spring, according to the above report. Pruitt told Paige that Foley High "could take care of him academically."
Will he actually be helped academically? Will Foley High provide an easier course load?
These are things that are in question after these recent accusations.
Even if Pruitt's actions were in good faith, it isn't a good look for the Crimson Tide. Even if there aren't any consequences that come out of this (at this point in time, none have), it still portrays the football program in a bad light.
Maybe Paige thought that if he declined Pruitt's prodding that he would never play for Alabama. He could have left his entire life behind to please a coach who could be looking out for his current team first.
By all accounts, Pruitt is a good guy, but this leaves room for questions regarding Alabama's recruiting process. He was named 2012 Recruiter of the Year, so you know he's good at what he does.
But this most recent method is questionable, and you can bet the college football world will be questioning this in the near future.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!