Throughout Mac Jones’ meteoric rise in recruiting service rankings, a lingering sense of doubt resonated throughout the BBN. On Tuesday, that dread became reality when the four-star quarterback flipped his commitment from Kentucky to the University of Alabama.
Commitment is defined as the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. In the world of college football recruiting, the term takes on a whole new meaning that reads, “dedicated to a cause or activity until a more desirable opportunity surfaces”.
The Mac Jones situation is not an aberration. Unfortunately, it’s practically the norm. While I’m fully supportive of the young man and his family in his commitment to the Crimson Tide, my issue is not with the prospect but with the Process as the Teflon coated Nick Saban prefers to say. College football desperately needs an early signing period. To be fair, I can see both sides of the coin. Coaches can offer then pull scholarships at the last minute. Players can commit, then as in the case of Mac Jones, amend their decision and attend a competing program. College football could benefit from an offer-to-signature procedural standardization that would stabilize both parties. College football is also in desperate need of a leader, period.
As for Kentucky, the question remains. What or who’s next? Simple, the answer continues to be the quarterback that signed his Letter of Intent on the first Wednesday in February of 2016: Gunnar Hoak.
The Ohio native and early enrollee was recruited by Eddie Gran and Darin Hinshaw at both Cincinnati and Kentucky. Hoak’s a more than capable fit for their offensive system as he enjoyed early success in the spring game by going 4-5 and a touchdown pass. Sure, recruiting experts will have lists upon lists by midnight to go along with eight hundred “I told ya so’s” but as reality, the future of the program lies squarely on the shoulders of young Mr. Hoak.
Gunnar Hoak is a product of Dublin Coffman High School, a program that has produced eight FBS quarterbacks since 2003. An ESPN four-star prospect; he threw for 2,584 yards, 30 touchdowns, and just three interceptions as a junior.
No sugar coating this; Jones’ flip was a double-fisted gut punch to the Kentucky Football program. However, it will assuredly and eventually sign a 2017 quarterback. When that name surfaces, or more accurately when the signature is dry and faxed into the new training center, he will be described as the one that the Cats wanted after Jones’ deflection. That’s the nature of the recruiting beast. That beast has become an out of control animal.