Top 10 Most Controversial Commitments in Recent History

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IJanuary 23, 2013

Top 10 Most Controversial Commitments in Recent History

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    Some commitments are made and go off smoothly. There is usually a sense of where a recruit is leaning and they announce their decisions to little shock to the public. In fact, more times than not, many commitments take place this way.

    But then there's those commitments that cause a controversy, a buzz, a hoopla if you will. For whatever reason, there's much contention and fuss made about the commitment and it embeds in our minds as one to remember.

    Here are the top 10 most controversial commitments in recent college football recruiting history. Some may take you back, but you may be surprised at how recent some of these are.

10. Gunner Kiel to Indiana Then LSU and Finally Notre Dame

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    In 2012 recruiting, Kiel was seen as the top quarterback in the country by many. From Indiana, he committed to the Hoosiers and gave Indiana football a potential program changing recruit.

    Then, Kiel de-committed and eventually settled on LSU. However, right before he was set to enroll, he changed course and ended up at Notre Dame.

    If you don't think there wasn't a controversy over this, ask Les Miles. 

9. Whitney Lewis to USC

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    Lewis was the top wide receiver in the country in 2003 and really was a beast. I remember playing against him in a passing league and coming away marveled at his 6'1", 210-lb. frame and 4.3 40-yard dash speed.

    It was obvious he wanted to go Florida State and play with his friend, Lorenzo Booker, but his parents wanted him at USC. On signing day, he argued with his family and was forced to sign with the Trojans.

    Lewis is one of the biggest 5-star busts in history. 

8. Mitch Mustain to Arkansas

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    The 2006 cycle came and Mustain was an elite quarterback recruit in the national class. From Arkansas, he was a legend in his state but never seemed to have the warmest relations with then Razorbacks head coach Houston Nutt.

    Mustained de-committed from the Hogs, flirted with Notre Dame but somehow got talked back into signing with Arkansas.

    It was a highly controversial commitment/recruitment that ended with Mustain transferring to USC, even after starting as a true freshman. 

7. Landon Collins to Alabama

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    The best player in Louisiana in 2012, Collins was a 5-star safety that LSU thought it had wrapped up. However, during the Under Armour game, he announced his commitment to Alabama—much to the disdain of his mother.

    Check out the clip. 

6. John David Booty to USC

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    The controversy wasn't around Booty's choice, but rather Booty leaving high school a year early to go to USC. 

    He and his family took a trip to USC in the spring of his then junior year, where Booty committed to Pete Carroll. However, next thing everyone knew, Booty was at USC trying to unseat Matt Leinart for the starting quarterback job.

    Many people questioned the decision and there was a ton of controversy surrounding it. 

5. Terrelle Pryor to Ohio State

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    This was a commitment of controversy that was just the start to a career of controversy, wasn't it? Pryor was viewed as the nation's best prospect in 2008 and when signing day came, he just couldn't make up his mind.

    Michigan, Ohio State and Oregon were in the thick of the race and many people felt Pryor knew he wanted to go to OSU but delayed his decision for more publicity.

    A few weeks after signing day he chose the Buckeyes and went on to have a controversial career.

4. Joe McKnight to USC

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    Some say McKnight was a silent commit to USC the whole time, while some LSU fans claim he committed to the Tigers at one point.

    Anyway you slice it, when McKnight announced for USC from his Louisiana high school, a state-wide controversy began.

    McKnight felt plenty of backlash from his state for picking USC and if you want to talk "controversial commitment" this one has to be discussed.

3. Cyrus Kouandjio to Auburn and Then Alabama

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    From Maryland, Kouandjio was the best offensive tackle in the country in 2011, and one of the top-5 overall prospects.

    He went on ESPN and announced for Auburn, but the look on his face was alarming to say the least.

    Soon after the announcement, word surfaced that he never faxed his letter of intent (LOI) to head coach Gene Chizik. Much controversy surrounded Kouandjio for several days and when he committed and signed with Alabama, it was embedded in everyone's mind as one of the most controversial decisions ever. 

2. Jimmy Clausen to Notre Dame

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    Clausen had the hype of the second coming of John Elway during his 2007 recruiting year and even before that. He's probably the very most hyped prospect ever in college football recruiting.

    From California, he decided to go to the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana to announce his decision. Clausen showed up in a limousine, decked in high school championship rings and operated with a sense of arrogance.

    He chose Notre Dame, but for quite some time the recruiting world had a buzz stemming from the negative light Clausen put himself in with the handling of his announcement. 

1. Lorenzo Booker to Notre Dame and Then Florida State on Live Television

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    Booker was the nation's best prospect in 2002 and everyone wanted to get their hands on him. He had excellent quickness, speed and instincts as a running back.

    He committed to play at Notre Dame and some even say he signed his LOI for the Irish. However, Booker went to the podium to announce his decision to the public of choosing Notre Dame.

    He began to cry and announced he was going to Florida State, even though he had told Notre Dame he was coming there. For many weeks after signing day in 2002, this commitment was still a hot topic and is the most controversial commitment of all time.

    Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to, and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.