Commits and recruits were paying attention to their college football coaches’ reactions to the protests and riots in the wake George Floyd’s death.
In the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd, many people all across the country reacted by holding protests and marches and calling for change. College football coaches did the same.
Coaches from the Power Five schools reacted to the recent events in America.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban responded via press release and some coaches even went as far as marching alongside their players like what Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops did while donning a “Black Lives Matter” shirt.
Many of the coaches who spoke out received praise from the media and fans, but most importantly from potential recruits. As for other coaches who didn’t say anything or reacted in a way that wasn’t viewed as being sympathetic to the cause, many voiced their anger and disappointment.
Florida State head coach Mike Norvell was one of those coaches as he was caught lying by one his players, defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, who denied he individually sent out messages to players.
How have responses impacted college football recruits?
With many of the top football players coming out of high school being African American, a coach’s response to the death of George Floyd and the nationwide protest can rub recruits either the right or wrong way.
In a tweet from 2021 Ohio State commit, Tunmise Adeleye, he made it very clear that he was happy that he was not committed to the Tigers. This is in response to recent allegations involving head coach Dabo Swinney and his staff.
Florida commit Daejon Reynolds tweeted the same sentiments after retweeting a video of Clemson residents riding around with confederate flags.
According to 247Sports, the Tigers are currently right behind Ohio State holding the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation for 2021.
Clemson has been in the news ever since people were calling for Dabo to speak up. It took the Clemson head coach a week to respond after many other coaches had already done so.
His lack of a quick response prompted former players to bring up stories that involved racially insensitive incidents while they played for the Tigers.
Former Clemson player Kanyon Tuttle, says Clemson doesn’t practice what it preaches and alleged that during a practice, a coach used the “N word” and never apologized for it and faced no consequences.
The other reported incident, which has yet to be confirmed by any legitimate source comes from former Clemson walk-on Hameed Williams, who accused Dabo of using the same word.
This came during a visit from Mike Reed, the new and then at the time prospective cornerback coach came to visit and toured the locker room while players were listening to music. Dabo then allegedly walked into the meeting room and said, “I don’t want to walk in the locker room with guests/future coaches hearing (N word) this, (N word) that in our house.”
Recently, you had Heisman hopeful Chubba Hubbard say he “will not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE” in response to a photo of head coach Mike Gundy wearing a t-shirt bearing the logo of One America News, a pro-Trump network that has promoted right-winged ideas.
There is no telling how these allegations and controversies will impact the players and recruits in the future.
ESPN analyst Paul Finebaum said on Get Up last week in response to the Norvell situation that he is all for players and recruits speaking out, but he wonders if this could change how college football coaches monitor their team.
“It creates a lot of issues, I think. As positive as all of us agree this might be, coaches don’t have a playbook. When someone like we saw yesterday can go on social media and unload on the coach in real time, what are they going to do? Yeah, they’re playing along right now. I think deep down they have to be a little bit concerned in relation to discipline and how they get control of the team. Having said all that, I’m all for it.”
-Paul Finebaum, ESPN Analyst
Here is the segment from last week’s show.
Do you think coaches reactions will impact players and recruits attitudes towards the schools they are choosing from?