There is a school of thought these days that college football recruiting began in earnest just a few years ago. Some of those same people believe legendary head coach Woody Hayes had no sense of humor.
Both accepted principles are actually fiction.
While it is true that recruiting has experienced a huge explosion in popularity with the advent of the Internet, the practice of enticing high school players to matriculate to one college or another is as old as the game itself.
Likewise, Hayes not only had a sense of humor, he was proud of his ability to tell a joke. He carefully cultivated his public persona as an ill-tempered curmudgeon, apt to go off about anything at any time. But in private – and especially with his good friends and former players – Hayes let his hair down.
One clear example was the coach’s so-called “Guide To Recruiting.” He always gave credit to a sportswriter for coming up with the tenets of the guide, but Hayes repeated them so often through the years, the words became his own.
He analyzed each prospect’s abilities in different categories and then gave a rating to each player – Superstar (far exceeds expectations), Star (exceeds expectations), Starter (meets expectations), Substitute (hope this player doesn’t have to be a starter) and Not A Prospect.
Here are Hayes’ criteria for each category:
Superstar – Leaps tall buildings with a single bound.
Star – Must take running start to leap over tall buildings.
Starter — Can leap over short buildings only.
Substitute – Crashes into buildings when attempting to jump over them.
Not A Prospect – Cannot recognize buildings at all.
QUICKNESS and SPEED
Superstar – Faster than a speeding bullet.
Star – Fast as a speeding bullet.
Starter – Not quite as fast as a speeding bullet.
Substitute – Would you believe a slow bullet?
Not A Prospect – Wounds self with bullets when attempting to shoot.
Superstar – Stronger than a locomotive.
Star – Stronger than a bull elephant.
Starter – Stronger than a bull.
Substitute – Shoots the bull.
Not A Prospect – Smells like a bull.
ADAPTABILITY and LEADERSHIP
Superstar – Walks on water consistently.
Star – Walks on water in emergencies.
Starter – Washes with water.
Substitute – Drinks water.
Not A Prospect – Passes water under stress.
COMMUNICATION and STABILITY
Superstar – Talks with God.
Star – Talks with the angels.
Starter – Talks to himself.
Substitute – Argues with himself.
Not A Prospect – Loses those arguments.
Today’s Buckeye birthdays belong to former linebacker Orlando Lowry and defensive end Mike Vrabel.
Orlando Dewey Lowry was born Aug. 14, 1961, in Cleveland, and played his high school ball at Shaker Heights, where he was a two-time All-Ohio performer. He lettered with the Buckeyes from 1981-83 and was a starter at one of the outside linebacker spots during his senior season. Lowry finished with a career-high 90 tackles in ’83, a campaign that saw the Buckeyes go 9-3 with all three losses by six points or less. Lowry signed with Indianapolis as an undrafted free agent prior to the 1985 season and embarked upon a five-year career in the NFL. He appeared in 67 games, including four starts for the Colts between 1986 and ’88.
Michael George Vrabel was born Aug. 14, 1975, in Akron, and was a star player at Walsh Jesuit High School before becoming one of the most feared defensive ends in college football. During his OSU career, he set more than a half-dozen new school defensive records including most career tackles for loss (66) and most sacks (36). Vrabel was a third-round selection by Pittsburgh in the 1997 NFL draft, but his pro career didn’t blossom until he was traded to New England in 2001. Since that time, he has been one of the anchors of a defense that has led the Patriots to three Super Bowl victories. Heading into the 2008 season, Vrabel has 51 sacks for his career as well as 542 tackles and 10 interceptions. He also has eight career pass receptions in the regular season – all for touchdowns. He has also caught two more TD passes in the postseason – one each in Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX
It is also a big day in the celebrity world for birthdays. Here are just a few of those celebrating today: former Baltimore Orioles manager and Hall of Famer Earl Weaver; former NFL quarterback John Brodie; Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Juan Pierre; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Roy Williams; Seattle Seahawks running back Julius Jones; Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz; Florida quarterback and 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer/songwriter David Crosby; football coach-turned-commentator Jimmy Johnson; NASCAR champion-turned commentator Rusty Wallace; actor Antonio Fargas (he played Huggy Bear on the original “Starsky and Hutch”); Seventies and Eighties television actress Susan Saint James (“McMillan and Wife,” “Kate & Allie”); TV actress Susan Olsen (Cindy on “The Brady Bunch”); TV actress Catherine Bell (Lt. Col. Sarah MacKenzie on “JAG”); actress Mila Kunis (Jackie on “That ’70s Show” and the voice on Meg on “Family Guy”); prolific romance novelist Danielle Steele; cartoonist Gary Larson (“The Far Side”); Oscar-winning composer James Horner (“Titanic”); Oscar-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden (“Pollock”); Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball”); Irish golfer Darren Clarke; comedian Steve Martin; and Basketball Hall of Fame guard Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
** Sporting News believes Georgia will win this year’s national championship despite its myriad offseason legal problems and the fact the Bulldogs just lost starting left tackle Trinton Sturdivant for the season with a knee injury. SN does, however, hedge its bet by offering five other choices “who could win it all.” Those teams: USC, Ohio State, Missouri, Clemson and BYU.
** Remember Josh Jarboe? He’s the highly-rated receiver prospect that Bob Stoops kicked off his Oklahoma team between signing day and fall camp. Jarboe pleaded guilty in May to a couple of gun possession charges, but Stoops decided to let him keep his scholarship. That was until an Internet video of Jarboe rapping about guns and shooting people surfaced in early August. Jarboe has re-surfaced at Troy, although there is some question whether or not he will be eligible to play in 2008. The 6-3, 195-pound Jarboe caught more than 100 passes for better than 2,000 yards in his final two seasons at Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove.
** Things just got a little tougher for Illinois to repeat last season’s success. The Illini have lost starting defensive tackle Sirod Williams to a season-ending knee injury.
** Seattle can’t keep its NBA franchise but it wants another shot at a college football bowl game. The city’s sports commission said Tuesday that it is in the early stages of trying to bring a bowl game back to Seattle, hoping to develop a relationship with the Pac-10 as one of its anchor tenants for a game that could begin in 2010. Seattle staged bowl games in 2001 and 2002 before sponsorship money dried up. If the Emerald City gets its wish, that would make 35 (and counting) bowl games.
** Major League Baseball appears to be on the verge of employing instant replay for close calls such as home runs. My only question: What took them so long?
** The national media’s love affair with Brett Favre isn’t quite over. Favre is set to make his first start for the New York Jets on Saturday night against Washington and the game wasn’t originally scheduled for national TV. That was until the NFL Network decided to intervene. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Eastern in case you’re interested.
** Care to guess the final holdout of the NFL draft’s first-round selections? That would be Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey, who was taken with the eighth overall pick by Jacksonville. (The Jags traded up from No. 28 to get Harvey.) Today marks the 20th day of Harvey’s holdout, and that breaks a dubious franchise record. Quarterback Byron Leftwich held out for 19 days before signing in 2003.
** What the deuce is it about the Olympic Games that is so compelling? I mean, I found myself staying up past midnight last night to watch swimming and men’s gymnastics – two sports I wouldn’t be caught dead watching any other time.