Free Form Friday doesn't know who you are. Free Form Friday doesn't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, we can tell you we don't have money. But what we do have are a very particular set of skills; skills we have acquired over a very long career of blogging about college football during the time of year when there is no actual football. Skills that make us a nightmare for people like Steve Spurrier. If you turn over your Chik-Fil-A now, that'll be the end of it. We will not look for you, we will not pursue you. But if you don't, we will look for you, we will find you, and we will kill you.
Maestro, if you please:
Bulldog fans who follow recruiting are no doubt familiar with the name Robert Nkemdiche. Nkemdiche, you may recall, is the consensus top high school player in the country for the class of 2013. A standout at Grayson High School, Nkemdiche recently committed to Clemson in a shocker over presumed favorites Alabama and LSU.
Part of the allure of Lake Hartwell appears to have been the Tigers' willingness to offer Nkemdiche's close friends and high school teammates. 3 of them are slated to go to South Carolina with him already. Now, Nkemdiche is gently suggesting that Dabo Swinney might want to offer a fourth to get the star recruit to "seal the deal."
As SB Nation's Bud Elliott notes, so-called package deals are nothing new in college football recruiting. It's nothing unusual for a high profile high school player to bring along a friend or (perhaps more troublingly) a high school coach. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. Generally, I think that how a college coaching staff allocates its limited scholarships is that staff's business to both oversee and ultimately defend. If it doesn't work out, the coaches will have to explain the decision later. So far, so good.
But the Nkemdiche affair seems a bit more complicated. I understand him to be saying that if teammate Ryan Carter isn't offered, he'll continue to look elsewhere. He might not actually go elsewhere, but the implication is clear. Dabo Swinney has a decision to make.
Robert Nkemdiche is probably a perfectly wonderful young man. But this situation sounds some alarm bells for me. What if Nkemdiche decides that his Grayson teammate Nick Schuessler, who turned down a scholarship offer to Mississippi State to walk on with his buddy at Clemson, ought not be required to walk on, but instead should get a scholarship? Who's to say that Nkemdiche won't be displeased with how much playing time his high school buddies receive and demand that one of them get more snaps? The whole thing is reminiscent of Houston Nutt and Arkansas's pursuit of Mitch Mustain and his Springdale High School teammates. That turned out horribly for all involved.
While I'm all for building relationships with successful high school programs, there's a real danger of cliques developing here. I can only assume Dabo Swinney will do just as good a job of containing any dissension as he did containing the West Virginia offense in the Orange Bowl. Sometimes you just get a feeling about this sort of thing, and I have a feeling that we'll be hearing a lot about what Robert Nkemdiche wants over the coming months and years.
Am I the only one who is beginning to get that Churchillian, exhilarating feeling of being shot and and missed with this recruitment? Is that just me trying to justify the fact that we still have up to 6 more months of reading Mike Carvell collect a paycheck for asking why Nkemdiche won't be enrolling in Athens?
Also, this is the last call for submissions for our poll next week of the best buddy movie scenes of all time. So far we have a) the wake up scene from The Hangover, b) the "jumper" scene from Lethal Weapon, and c) the Riggs/Murtaw toilet scene, and d) a general endorsement of Coming To America. What else do you have, commentariat? Everybody have a great weekend, and . . .