Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Inside the 'business' of college football recruiting: Louisville drops All Saints RB Daniel Gresham's offer
Editor's Note: This story was originally posted on Jan. 28. Daniel Gresham has since committed to SMU.
The coaching carousel that follows every college football season has a domino effect on incoming recruiting classes.
Some athletes will follow a head or assistant coach to a new school. Others will stick with their commitment regardless of the staff changes.
In a worst-case scenario, an athlete could lose his scholarship offer altogether, which is what happened to Fort Worth All Saints running back Daniel Gresham.
“That’s the side of the business that sometimes the kids get caught in,” All Saints coach Aaron Beck said. “That’s the unfortunate side. But that’s part of it.”
Mack Brown’s resignation from Texas started a chain reaction of coaching moves that affected a number of area recruits, including Gresham.
Local standouts Jerrod Heard, Cameron Hampton, Sione Teuhema and Jason Hall have stood by their commitments to the Longhorns. Lincoln wide receiver Emanuel Porter flipped to TCU, one of five players who has decommitted since Brown’s departure.
Gresham, the one-time Texas pledge who had been committed to Louisville since June, had his offer revoked after Charlie Strong left for Austin. Bobby Petrino’s new staff told Gresham it wouldn’t have use for him in a one-back system.
The All Saints senior previously held offers from Alabama, Texas, Florida State and Auburn, among others. All of those schools had long since filled their needs for running backs. Gresham said unless a school finds a late spot for him, he will now choose from among UT-San Antonio, Colorado State and SMU come signing day.
“I had everything figured out and it was pulled out from under my feet,” Gresham said. “But I’ve picked myself up and won’t let this bring me down.”
Gresham said he harbors no ill will toward the Louisville staff, saying “it’s a business, and this was the move they made.”
Several other area recruits have been affected by college coaching changes across the country, and it’s not always the movement of a head coach that throws a wrench into the process.
West Mesquite safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner has been committed to three different schools during the last two years. He initially committed to Clemson, then flipped to Texas A&M.
Earlier this month, though, he decided to follow former Texas A&M co-defensive coordinator/secondary coach Marcel Yates to Boise State.
Keller Fossil Ridge cornerback Nick Foster (committed to TCU), Skyline safety Derrick Dixon (Texas Tech) and Cedar Hill cornerback Marcus Green (Oklahoma) all said they would choose to follow their recruiter if he were to move on to a new school.
Hall, a South Grand Prairie safety, said he might do the same.
“There’s a good chance I would so the recruiting process wouldn’t start over,” the Texas pledge said. “I would already have a good relationship with my recruiting coach so the head coach would know me much quicker.”
Commit to school or coach?
For fans, that sort of flipping can be frustrating. But coaches are often at the heart of those decisions, actively recruiting players who were already committed.
New Penn State coach James Franklin has flipped five players who were formerly pledged to his Vanderbilt program.
“I don’t know what the rules are there,” Franklin told The Dan Patrick Show. “I know that I’ve been sitting in living rooms with families and kids and selling them on a dream and selling them on a vision and our relationship. I think a lot of people say that the kids should commit to a school, not a coach, but the reality is, they do. … It’s about the relationship.”
Of course, not all recruits can be wooed away by their recruiter.
A coaching swap didn’t change the minds of Princeton wide receiver Jakari Dillard or Euless Trinity offensive lineman Lemaefe Galea’i.
Dillard committed to Texas Tech in 2012 and was recruited by wide receivers coach Sonny Cumbie. Cumbie, a former Tech quarterback, left to become TCU’s co-offensive coordinator last month.
Galea’i, an Oklahoma State pledge, was recruited by OSU’s former offensive line coach Joe Wickline, who has since joined Strong’s staff at Texas.
Cumbie reached out to Dillard after his move, and Wickline did the same with Galea’i, but both players remain committed to their original schools.
“I looked around and I went with Oklahoma State for the school, not the coach,” Galea’i said. “Having Coach Wickline was a bonus.”
Sometimes the movement of an assistant can prevent a player from receiving a long-awaited offer.
Uncommitted Irving wide receiver Michael Coley was heavily recruited by former Florida special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach Jeff Choate last year, and an offer from Florida seemed imminent.
But Choate resigned last month, and Florida’s interest in Coley vanished.
Choate resurfaced as a defensive line coach at Washington, which has since shown its own interest in the Irving senior.
Now, instead of the possibility of heading east to Florida, Coley could be wooed to the Pacific Northwest. He hasn’t made a decision yet, though, and he’s since taken official visits to Texas Tech and Louisiana Tech, Irving coach Aaron De La Torre said.
“Every individual situation is unique,” West Mesquite coach Jeff Neill said. “Some colleges benefit from kids changing schools and commitments. Other times they might lose a kid. Every circumstance is different.”
William Wilkerson contributed to this report.