Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Courting of Tate Forcier

SI's Andy Staple's piece "A closer look at the small and LARGE print of recruiting letters" takes a peek at the courting of Scripps Ranch (San Diego) quarterback Tate Forcier, one of the top quarterback prospects in the class of 2009.

I was a recruitee in my day, having earned all-state-level recognition and played a little 1-AA football. But the closest I got to a scholarship was thinking I was the shit as a junior in high school for receiving photocopied form letters from the likes of Nick Saban (then at Michigan State) and Rutgers' Terry Shea.

Forcier and his family are on a level most high school athletes will never reach. Rather than form letters, he receives straight-up scholarship offers from big name coaches. While this has happened seemingly forever in high school recruitment, and clearly Forcier isn't the lone recipient in this country, the thing that amazes me is that in this modern age of mass, instant and global communications, a 16-17 year old kid (whose bloodline includes current Standford and UCLA QBs) is exploited for hitting the DNA jackpot and inserted into the family hype machine. The aforementioned scholarship offer letters - for reasons and motives known only to his family were scanned and posted on their website.

While insiders and savvy fans are not the least bit surprised by this, to the average person I can see it being a bit bewildering. The Forcier family site (qbforce.com), "dedicated to...Family, Friends & Loyal Fans," while amateur looking, offers a neatly crafted one-stop promotional package featuring bios, accolades, photos and video highlight packages for all three boys. (Not to mention info on a pair of family businesses).

While most high school athletes will never experience the pressure and rewards of the spotlight thrust upon young Tate, Forcier will never be able to live a normal teenage life.

Furthermore, Tate is obviously a highly coveted prospect with offers a-plenty on the table (30 in all). Jason (Stanford) and Chris (UCLA), with 5 all-state honors between them, have already been through the process and are enjoying their free rides. To what benefit, then, is the existence of this website other than to throw blood into the water for ruthless agents and exploitative scoundrels to circle to? The only other apparent beneficiary would be Mr. & Mrs. Forcier.

Call me naive, but I do not recognize one way that this serves to better or further the emotional, social, athletic or academic development of a teenage kid whose amateur status forbids him from any professional or monetary benefit.

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