Recruiting on the Plains: Are the 5-Stars Really Worth it?

There’s no denying the talent that a 5-star player brings to a program, but how should a program balance the drama that comes with said 5-star player.

With this being a slow week due to the holiday, we’re taking a break from the recruiting notebook this week.

This past week, Texas A&M saw the transfer of Kyler Murrey, a 5-star quarterback that was meh, at best this year, along with fellow 5-star quarterback Kyle Allen transferring as well. Immediately after the transfer of both quarterbacks, TAMU head coach Kevin Sumlin is being called into question for his overall record and the transfer of two of the more highly rated quarterbacks to ever play for Texas A&M.

Notice that I typed “highly rated” because both quarterbacks had moments, but their play wasn’t terrific, and now Sumlin has a real mess on his hands with the only quarterbacks being of the walk-on variety.  Whatever you think of this post, it’s not a hit-piece on Texas A&M or Kevin Sumlin.  These sorts of things happen with every program.

Last recruiting cycle, it was practically signed that Jarrett Stidham was going to be a Red Raider. He actually did the same thing that Jett Duffey just did, which is sign his financial paperwork, opening the door for coaches to converse with Stidham and well popped a cold one thinking that Stidham’s recruiting process was all but over.  Alas, this never came to pass because Stidham eventually signed his letter of intent with Baylor and the promises of Stidham playing for Texas Tech fell by the wayside.

These things tend to work themselves out and they did for Texas Tech and they might for TAMU as well.  Patrick Mahomes ended up being more than just good as a true sophomore and I wouldn’t bet against Jake Hubenak slinging the ball for TAMU.

We’ve throw around the buzzword “entitlement” and I think there is certainly something to that. There’s something to the idea that a player sometimes really doesn’t feel like they need to or should wait their turn for the opportunity to play. College basketball very much has this attitude and the biggest reason why is that most players do not redshirt their freshman year, so they almost tend to consider that redshirt year as a tryout. If they don’t like it, then they lose a year, which isn’t a big deal, and then attend another program.  With football, it’s a bit different and the times that a freshman can make an impact, even a redshirt freshman, are not all that common.  With football, it takes time to climb up that depth chart and receive quality and meaningful playing time.

However, with quarterbacks, it’s a bit of a different game and the quarterbacks that are highly rated and play as freshmen do not want to wait around for the shoe to drop. If it’s not working out, then you transfer and land somewhere else with a brand new fresh start.

This brings us to Jett Duffey, who, when recently interviewed by TechTalk, pretty much said that he knows he’s most likely going to redshirt, but he’ll be ready if the need arises and he also understands that he is just one play away from seeing meaningful snaps.  I think it might be a bit rare for someone like Duffey, who has the expectation to be the best he can be, but the common sense aspect that he’s not better than Davis Webb or Patrick Mahomes right now and the best thing for Duffey on a long-term basis is to actually take a year to redshirt and improve his body and his game.

With a 5-star or 4-star quarterback that maybe thinks more of themselves than of the team, that attitude of waiting patiently isn’t as common. And not all 4-star or 5-star players are the same. You have guys like Breiden Fehoko and Patrick Mahomes others on this team that seem to be perfectly content to work hard and let the chips fall where they may.

On the other end of the spectrum is the idea that teams with 4-star and 5-star talent usually win more than those who don’t have that sort of talent.  It’s more about Jimmy’s and Joe’s and less about X’s and O’s as Kingsbury says and there’s truth to that.  But the reality is that the drama with high profile recruit might not be worth the time, effort and emotional drain as with a player that isn’t as highly rated as others. There are probably certain programs that can absorb a high profile player and not be damaged if and when that player transfers. Alabama or Oklahoma or any other blue blood program can probably take that hit, but for a program like Texas Tech, those losses are real and they hurt more because, for the most part, Texas Tech can’t just go replace that player.

There’s a balance there, and most of these players will have egos and they should have egos to an extent. Confidence or whatever you want to call it, they’re all athletically more talented that I ever thought about being.

I don’t know if there’s really an answer here, but maybe this is more of a discussion than anything else. I’d like to see you all talk it out and read what you have to say.


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