Every offseason I sit at my luxuriously appointed mahogany desk here at Dawg Sports HQ* and wonder about what we will write about until SEC Media Days. Sure Georgia just booked a big non-conference football home-and-home, Nick Chubb can apparently fly, Diamond 'Dawgs made an impact in the recent MLB Draft, and Bulldog golfers continue to burn up the PGA Tour. However all that only gets you so far. You gotta feed the beast, man.
But like the sea and Wal-Mart, the offseason always provides what you need. By now you have almost assuredly heard the bizarre story of hip-hop artist/producer turned entertainment mogul P. Diddy allegedly* attacking a member of the UCLA coaching staff with a kettleball. I’ve seen some pretty bizarre motorcycle-wrecking, tattoo parlor-visiting, scooter-riding stories in my time, but this one is pretty spectacular.
One aspect of the story that was particularly stupefying for me was the revelation that Rick Neuheisel signed Justin Combs at UCLA in part because of his famous Dad. Now, I can understand being a little star-struck. But Neuheisel admits that Combs was not exactly an elite prospect. His relatively pedestrian career at UCLA seems to have borne that out. There’s a part of me that’s tempted to just say "LOL, PAC-12" to this. Because I have a hard time imagining the head coach at an SEC school taking a flyer on a player solely because he has a famous parent. The risk of second-guessing inherent in that kind of offer is very high.
Georgia of course is currently recruiting tailback Elijah Holyfield, the son of former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield. But the younger Holyfield is a four star recruit with offers from a large portion of the SEC and ACC. And if you’ve seen the footwork he inherited from his dad, you know that the kid can really play. The question for today is: can you envision any legitimate circumstance under which a player’s family background plays into the decision to ultimately offer a scholarship?
For example, I’ve heard more than one recruiting analyst upgrade a recruit because his father/uncle/next door neighbor played in the NFL. Frankly I’ve found that to be a generally poor indicator of future success. And in a lot of circumstances I could see a solid counterargument. Will a kid whose family is worth tens of millions of dollars be hungry enough to get up at 5 a.m. for mat drills? Will he eventually think "Man, I don’t need this crap." and get back in his Range Rover to head back to his plush off-campus apartment? Inquiring minds want to know: would you be willing to take a flyer on the gridiron progeny of famous folks?
*Actually the desk is a folding card table set up in the back of the Fresh Air BBQ in Jackson. Don’t tell them I’m here, please.
**Allegedly in the sense that the attack was captured on closed circuit video and the video showed enough for the campus police to arrest him, but we’re big fans of due process here at Dawg Sports.