Are you tall? How about your pregnant wife? If so, Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin would like to offer your yet-to-be-born child a scholarship.
In light of Kentucky's Mark Stoops offering a 2018 scholarship to a seventh grader, Franklin was asked to expound on his thoughts about early recruiting.
Oh, he expounded, and his recruitment is rather early.
"If I see a 6-foot-6 man walking in the mall with his wife, and she’s 6-2 and she’s pregnant, I’ll go up and offer their unborn child."
Already we are a just a tad hesitant about his plan. Every man alive knows you don't simply walk up and ask a woman if she's pregnant. In fact, the proper time to do such a thing is never.
And if you thought he was kidding around, he isn't. Apparently, the coach actually does this:
I’m not exaggerating. I do that all the time. If I go to speak at an elementary school, if I’m out at a restaurant, we kind of have fun with it. It’s about developing a relationship with people. It’s about getting them connected with Vanderbilt. It’s about making people laugh and telling a story and having fun. It’s about having a sense of humor and not being some robot coach that I don’t want to be.
It's crazy. It's nuts. It's college football.
What if dad is as clumsy as he is tall? What if mom's height also came with sizable sports incompetence?
I have played with a good amount of tall people who stunk as athletes and many short athletes who excelled far better than you would ever imagine. Essentially, you cannot tell who is going to dominate by a mere glimpse.
With that being the case, you cannot begin to hope to get a lock on someone before they are born.
Ah, but that is a logical argument for a ridiculous level of recruitment.
Of course, Franklin may be making these offers with a tinge of jest, as he states: "It’s about getting them connected with Vanderbilt. It’s about making people laugh and telling a story and having fun."
Still, the report reminds Franklin is not about to refrain from making actual offers to the likes of seventh graders, but there are limits—although not many.
Well, if you look at other sports, tennis and basketball, they’ve been doing these things or similar stuff forever. If you look at tennis, that happens all the time. It’s different for our sport. I can’t speak for any other coach or any other program, but we would only do that if a kid is a no-brainer, and I don’t know how many no-brainers there are to play in the SEC in fifth and sixth grade.
I live in my own rare bubble, one that finds things like the media coverage for national signing day to be a bit too much, throwing hype and pressure at kids who are far too young for such things.
I guess the idea that kids should be allowed the innocence of youth is outdated. However, I think I am at least a little justified in thinking kids should learn to walk before they decide what college they will attend.
If not, can we at least agree to wait until after the child is born before sizing him up for a uniform?
Franklin may not be completely serious about recruiting unborn children; at least we hope he isn't. This is the same guy who wants his coaches to have hot wives, after all.
The day will come when a baby will grow to be cognizant, finding that its future has been all planned out, and he is playing linebacker for a predetermined college.
It sounds pretty nuts, but reality isn't that far off.
Let's hammer all this out on Twitter: Follow @gabezal