A closer look at the small and LARGE print of recruiting letters
He wanted to see that offer in writing.
Not long after, an envelope arrived at Forcier's home. Inside was a four-paragraph letter from Stanford coach
Forcier has since received 29 more offers, and as the written offers have arrived, Forcier and his family have scanned them and posted them on the brothers' Web site. As of Tuesday morning, the Forciers had posted 21
Thanks to Forcier, we know that Harbaugh believes
Forcier has offers from schools in all six BCS conferences, so the letters posted on his site offer an excellent cross-section of big-time programs. And like Gundy's all-caps missive, each says a lot about the coach and the program he represents.
All the letters offer to provide tuition, room, board and books, but of the 21 letters Forcier has posted, Harbaugh's offers the most hyperbole. The second paragraph opens with, "As both the top academic institution in the world, and the home of the top collegiate athletic program in the world..."
Meanwhile, Washington coach
Programs face a bit of a catch-22 when they put scholarship offers in writing. They want to express their dedication to the prospect, but they also must leave themselves an out in case the prospect's skills decline or in case a better player at the same position decides he wants the scholarship. The basketball programs at Davidson and Northwestern got burned by written offers; the schools had to settle out of court with prospects who sued after the programs reneged on written offers. Hawaii may have a leg to stand on in its defense of a lawsuit from former prospect
The letters from
The award for brutal honesty goes to Texas A&M coach
While some sections of the letters -- the disclaimers, for example -- are pure boilerplate, some coaches made sure to personalize their offers as proof of their true, heartfelt desire to obtain Forcier's signature on a letter-of-intent. Paterno, Rodriguez, Wisconsin's
To prove they embrace the traditions of the programs they represent, some coaches signed off with the school's catch phrase. Where other coaches wrote "Sincerely," Texas A&M's Sherman wrote "Gig 'em." Bielema wrote "On Wisconsin," Baylor's Briles wrote "Sic 'em Bears," LSU's
Some schools also try to impress with fancy letterhead, while others keep it simple. Clemson coach
Despite all the flourishes, or lack thereof, the offer letter itself is only a piece of the recruiting puzzle, but it's a corner piece. The letters promise tuition, room board and books, but they also promise a bright future, whether they come from Arizona, Auburn, Michigan or Oklahoma State.
"DURING YOUR TIME IN STILLWATER, BESIDES PLAYING CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALL, YOU WILL ALSO EARN AN EXCELLENT DEGREE AND MAKE MEMORIES THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME," OSU's Gundy wrote to Forcier on Feb. 16. "I WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK TO YOU AS SOON AS POSSIBLE ABOUT OSU AND THIS OFFER. PLEASE CALL ME AT..."