Thursday, January 12, 2012

Race and Recruiting

An article by Olin Buchanan over at Rivals shines a spotlight on James Franklin's recruiting success and asks whether black coaches have an edge in attracting high school prospects.  The upshot?  There isn't much of one really, as the article cites anecdotal evidence going both ways.  Even when it comes to the anecdotes, the article is pretty thinly researched for such a seemingly complex topic.  That being said, Buchanan suggests that in the eyes of most prospects, the head coach's race is simply not an issue.  That was certainly the case for our own soon-to-be Commodore Brian Kimbrow, who had this to say about CJF:
"[Race] was no factor. ... Coach Franklin is just a great guy.  You'd want to play for him if he was black or white or whatever.  He's different.  He's never negative." 
Another aspect of the article that I found insightful was the point that football programs are -- and must be -- bigger than any one man, including the head coach.  It's risky for any recruit to choose a school based solely on a coach because turnover is so common.  The result is that, regardless of the head coach's race, "[s]chools with legitimate chances to win championships and prepare their players for the NFL still win out."

So the question is this: Can Vanderbilt prove that it belongs in that category?

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