When people learn my job includes covering recruiting, they frown. What, they always ask, could be worthwhile about cataloguing the whims of 17-year-olds?
Easy. The names.
The appreciation of a fine moniker among recruitniks began humbly enough in the class of 1961, when a few in-the-know Illinois fans noticed the name of a linebacker from Chicago Vocational High School and smiled. Yes,
The Heralds of the Handle -- the proprietors of the
Unfortunately, after the class of 2011, there's nowhere to go but down. There may never be another recruit name quite as fantastic as the one that came in a vision to a Nigerian man named
The family emigrated to the United States and settled in Miami when God's Power was seven. Now a junior at American (Hialeah, Fla.) High, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Offor will start this season at weakside defensive end. He already has been blessed with placement on a watch list by excellent
So quick off the line is Offor that in practice, American coach
In case you were wondering, that's what God's Power goes by in daily conversation -- G.P. "When I was in Nigeria, everybody loved that name," Offor said. "People thought I had the coolest name, that I was blessed." But when Offor and his family -- which also includes brother
"Kids that age act the same way," Offor said. "If somebody's different, they like to pick on them. If everybody's name was Mike and my name was Steve, everybody would say I'm a different person. I got picked on for my name and for my color. Because I'm black. I'm really dark. When those two things meet, it turns into a haunting memory."
Sometimes, the teasing stung so badly young God's Power tried to smite his tormentors with his fists. Alarmed, Offor's mother visited the courthouse and obtained the necessary paperwork to legally change her son's name. Suddenly, the fourth grader was a pen stroke away from being David Offor. Nma told her son to think hard about the decision. Did he want to be David, or did he want to be God's Power?
After serious deliberation, God's Power won. "This name has done everything for me," Offor said. "This name made me who I am."
The name may prove useful as college coaches scan lists of recruits. Obviously, Offor will have to prove himself on the field, but coaches aren't likely to forget him.
The mother of class of 2010 tailback
Class of 2010 quarterback
Johnson and Legaux boast fine names and lofty Rivals.com rankings, but to find the most tubular name in the class of 2010, we must go to Honolulu, where 6-2, 190-pound senior
So does Ryder surf? "Yeah," he said. "But mostly bodyboarding." And like God's Power Offor, Ryder took his share of ribbing for his name. "When the movie Whale Rider came out, that was a popular one," said Ryder, who has a younger brother named
God's Power Offor refused to change his name as a fourth-grader, and now that name could help propel him to celebrity status as a football recruit. But Offor, an honor student who expects to earn an academic scholarship no matter what happens on the football field, has a plan in case God's Power doesn't become a household name on the gridiron. He wants to be a pharmacist. "It's recession-proof," he said.
Unfortunately, after a name like God's Power Offor, the football recruit name market seems due for a serious downturn. So what's a name nerd to do? Maybe it's time to follow basketball, the sport that gave us