Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics
Our issues with locking down recruits are well-documented, and largely deal with other schools presumably selling student life-centric elements and NFL potential to the players, while we focus on the value of a Georgia Tech degree. Me? I say we sell all of the above, and here's how it's done.
"Here's the deal, you gotta earn your own way and nobody owes you anything. I'm not going to promise you that you'll start next year as a freshman. But, you've got incredible potential and the ability to be a real star in a nationally-prominent program. You've got every opportunity to make the NFL and be impactful there, just like Jonathan Dwyer, Anthony Allen, Demaryius Thomas, Stephen Hill, Morgan Burnett, Michael Johnson, Vance Walker, and Derrick Morgan have in the past few years since I've been at this school.
But son, at the end of the day, the odds of making it to the NFL out of any school in the country aren't good. Only about 300 guys from any NFL Draft Class will ever be a part of an NFL organization (if you include guys signed as undrafted free agents). Now I know as much as any other coach out there that you have the potential to make it to the league, but stuff happens. Maybe you get injured, like our guy Julian Burnett did, or maybe you get diagnosed with a condition that inhibits your ability to ever play again, like our guy Denzel McCoy did. I won't speculate as to whether they would have been NFL prospects or not, but here's the deal: even though something unfortunate derailed any opportunity they would have had of making a career out of playing football, they're still going to be successful in life like they wouldn't have had an opportunity to be had they gone to a different school. See, these guys are going to graduate, and earn a degree with the words 'Georgia Institute of Technology' across the top, a degree that employers would put a much higher weight on than a degree from any other school that's recruiting you.
Let me tell you about Michael Johnson and Philip Wheeler. Michael's a defensive end for the Bengals, and Phil's a linebacker for the Raiders. Both guys were highly touted guys that left school before graduation, were chosen in the NFL Draft, and have been starters for their respective teams ever since they entered the league. Most guys in their positions are just living life, playing football, and thanking God for the ability to be doing what they're doing. These guys? Both of them have spent spring semesters since graduation coming back to finish their degrees, because they recognize that football can't last forever for anyone, and that there's just that much value behind getting a degree from this school.
Let me tell you about Albert Rocker. Albert played middle linebacker for us for three years after redshirting, and before the 2011 season, his final year, he left the team after receiving his undergraduate degree. His reasoning? He was hired as a full-time employee by Microsoft. They told him that it was going to be a 'now-or-never' deal, with 'now' being before the football season could start. Now, Albert could have kept playing football and tried to play in the league, but Albert's another guy who recognized that football can't last forever, and that he had an opportunity to be successful and provide for his family for the next 40 years.
Son, I'm not going to promise you booze and women. I'm not going to give you a starting position based on name alone and I won't guarantee you that you're going to win a national championship by the time you graduate...but I will promise you that if you come to Georgia Tech and put your heart and soul into this team and this school for 4 years, you WILL be successful in life. Maybe it'll be in the NFL and maybe it won't...but I guarantee you that you'll be successful, and that's something that very, very few schools can promise you."
What do you guys think? How tough would this be to turn down? What am I forgetting?