Turns out that Illinois Head Coach Ron Zook ain’t that big of a fan when it comes to recruiting sites. Said Zook via the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald,
"We're turning the recruiting over to the so-called recruiting gurus," Zook said.
"Now, all of a sudden, just like you've got basketball coaches complaining that it's turning over to the AAU coaches, now we're turning it over to these guys that can call them. Well, you know what a lot of them are saying. They're selling their school to these kids, and we're not able to talk to them. To me, we're losing this thing, in my opinion."
Yeah, Ronny, about that, let’s rap. I can appreciate everything Ron Zook has done for Illinois football. He has made the Illini competitive within the Big 10. They no longer look to simply spoil but to win outright and it’s not just a pipe dream anymore. Ron’s frustration with recruiting services, however, is something I question.
When I was working with Scout under Steve Ryan and Bryan Munson, I had a job to do and it was write columns. I was lucky enough to get to meet some really great kids along the way. Quite a few of them didn’t wear Nebraska’s colors, though I still cheer for them individually to this day. All, however, had the Cornhuskers on their list and it would’ve been very easy for me to talk to these guys. I was more than likely one of the youngest people calling them, but I also kept one rule for myself: The No Rush Rule.
Essentially, if a recruit didn’t want to talk, we didn’t. It kept me up late some nights, but in the end, it earned gratitude and no extra scholarships. When I spoke with recruits, I was able to talk to them about life outside of football not why they should be playing where I can see them from 40-something rows up. One thing that people easily forget is that these are still high school kids who do have some shreds of innocence left here and there. Too eager are we sometimes to rip them away.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but all I can tell you is that I never took money to talk up Nebraska. I never talked up Nebraska for free. I think the kids were more interested in talking about themselves off the field for a few minutes a day when and if they chose. In the end, sorry Coach Zook, but you’ve got other people to point the finger at than me. I don’t recruit ‘em, I just see what I see and let time sort the rest out.