Louisville Cardinals Coach Bobby Petrino Proves in Recruiting He Still Has No Character


National Signing Day for all colleges can be a hair pulling experience. If you’re a college football coach you have recruits that are on the fence about your school, the Hat Game, and some even de-commit at the last minute which leaves you in a bind.

Coaches even have to hit the recruiting trail at the last moment and sit at kitchen tables with parents to go over the next 3-4 years of their son’s life. You the coach are trying to close them, trying to get that commit. Is this the best thing for their kid? Will you take care of my child in terms of playing time? What are his chances of making the NFL? Surely these things come up.

But what about a kid by the name of Matt Colburn that had already made that commitment to your school? A kid who had already shut down the recruitment of himself to other schools and was ready to set foot on campus in the fall and make an impact on your team, only for you Louisville Cardinals Coach Bobby Petrino to take it all away at the last minute by giving his scholarship to another recruit?

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Surely this has happened before right? Nick Saban used to pressure some of his underperforming football players to take medical redshirts on previous injuries in order to make room for an incoming recruit. But it’s the way that Bobby Petrino handled the situation and his checkered past that has people up in arms. If you read any of the Blitz’s ‘College Football’s Biggest Coaching Jerks’ you know that Petrino was listed for the things he’s done.

Getting his mistress a job in the athletic department at Arkansas and then being involved in a motorcycle accident with her and trying to cover it up. Signing a 10 year extension with Louisville in a previous turn, only to bolt to the NFL that same year with the Atlanta Falcons and then leaving them in Week 14 of that same year. But those were men. Matt Colburn was just a high school kid who had committed to Louisville 8 months before.

Here’s the kicker of the whole situation: Petrino had assistant coach Tony Grantham call Matt Colburn to tell him that he wouldn’t have a scholarship come the fall. Their reasoning? According to Grantham, Louisville was concentrating their recruiting efforts on defensive backs, citing that they would be short at those positions and they needed Colburn’s scholarship. Huh?! Wouldn’t they have already known this situation was going to occur before last season was even over? Couldn’t Petrino pick up the phone himself six months ago and call a kid who’s already committed and tell him that way Colburn could at least open up communications with schools that showed interest in him, not a few days before Signing Day?

By the way, Louisville did extend a ‘Gray Shirt‘ offer to Matt Colburn, which means he’d have to be a part of the 2016 Louisville recruiting class, having to sit out a year. Really?

"“I felt lost and hopeless,” Colburn said Tuesday. “I mean, I had shut down my recruiting and basically gave everything to those guys – my commitment, my word and everything. Now my commitment and your commitment isn’t the same thing. They (Louisville) never told me anything about grayshirting in those eight months. They were telling me they wanted me to be ready to play next year and I would be in a rotation with the other guys. To tell me about grayshirting a day and a half before signing day is not good business. I was flabbergasted.”"

Petrino didn’t pick up any fans with Matt Colburn’s High School coach Tom Knotts either. His response?

"“Louisville and that staff will never step foot in a school I’m in again. A commitment to me means a commitment. We’re reeling over it.”"

So what’s next for Matt Colburn? After scrambling around for the past couple of days trying to find a school, Marshall, Wake Forest, and Georgia Southern has shown interest in the young running back  who tallied over 5,600 yards and 91 touchdowns at Dutch Fork. Matt Colburn’s final thoughts on the matter?

"“This dilemma has taught me a thing or two. It’s shown me sometime you don’t get what you want. Obviously, Louisville is not the right school for me, and hopefully this is a blessing where another door has been opened. This can only make me better. To be honest, this is only adding the fuel to the flame that drives me to be great and achieve something.”"

Too bad Bobby Petrino couldn’t commit to Colburn’s mindset. Petrino could learn a lot from the young man, but as the saying goes, ‘A Fool at 40 will be a Fool for life.’ Why does anybody keep committing to Petrino’s philosophy? At least they called right? Motorcycle ride anyone?

Next: Big 12 Signing Day Recap Part II

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