Welcome to the silly season — college football recruiting.
After a pandemic shut things down last year, the Power 5s are pulling out all stops to make up for it.
We've got cowboy hats, flashing lights, custom-fitted uniforms, boat rides, anything you want to hear. Anything you want to see. Anything you want to wear.
No one, not the University of Washington, and certainly not the University of Alabama, is exempt from putting on a Las Vegas-like presentation to get you to come play football for them.
Some of these football visits are carefully hidden inside summer football camp invitations. While you might get a tip on how to better come off the edge, you also get a recruiting sales pitch right along with it.
It's like buying a car. You can't just take it for a test ride. You have to sit and politely listen to why you should pay the sticker price.
Everything's big in Texas.
The recruiting visit, official or unofficial, is no different.
We'll make you look like John Wayne, who went from the USC offensive line to Hook 'em Horns in the movies.
Malik Agbo from Federal Way, Washington, seemed totally bowled over by Miami's hospitality.
The Hurricanes must have brought Crockett and Tubbs out of syndication to show him where he could buy some pink neon clothes and lease a Ferrari, if not a houseboat.
Speaking of boats, almost no one comes to Seattle without getting a ride across Lake Washington from Rick Neuheisel, Steve Sarkisian, Chris Petersen and now Jimmy Lake. It's part of the weekend tour, though Don James always left that bit of aquatic revelry to some other coach to handle.
No, you don't get your own boat to go to class.
If you wonder why Sir Mells and Anthony Jones from the Las Vegas suburbs abruptly pulled out of their Washington commitments six months ago, it's clear they had committed way too early and stood to miss out on all the fun.
All the adulation, fawning praise, big steak dinners.
What 16- or 17-year-old kid wouldn't want to continually hear how great he was?
Tacoma's Jayden Wayne, before getting the big sell at Texas, made the Southern circuit, much like a NASCAR driver looking for the next speedway.
He stopped off at Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Georgia.
Now that's a brave kid.
That's a kid with ringing in his ears.
Landen Hatchett from Ferndale, Washington, is an offensive lineman just starting to get offers and all kinds of attention. He's just sophomore. He's also the younger brother of Geirean Hatchett, a freshman OL at the UW, and getting pitched by the border rival.
Yes, you have to wear NIKE stuff if you go here.
Everywhere the recruits visit, seemingly there's a guy from a recruiting site who shows and gets your reaction to your 24-hour say. Either on his own or encouraged by the host school to show up and offer a little publicity op.
We still haven't seen one of these reaction stories yet where the recruit says he had a horrible time and was never coming back.
Oh, by the way, did you know Nick Saban just re-upped?
Did you know, that all of this goes away once you've finally signed with someone?
That's why some kids transfer — they want to be told once again how great they are instead of go take another lap.
And if you think all of this is over the top, you missed the days of rented limousines, coed companionship, nonstop parties and unseemly booster involvement, which put a lot of schools in trouble with the law, the NCAA kind.
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