Harrison Smith, Todd Kelly don't support NCAA changes that loosen barriers to recruits

Smith, Kelly don't support NCAA changes

Webb School of Knoxville's Todd Kelly Jr. poses at the News Sentinel Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. Kelly Jr. is this year's PrepXtra defensive player of the year. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer

Webb School of Knoxville's Todd Kelly Jr. poses at the News Sentinel Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. Kelly Jr. is this year's PrepXtra defensive player of the year. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Harrison Smith starred at Catholic High School then at Notre Dame and stood out as a rookie safety this season for the Minnesota Vikings.

Todd Kelly starred at Bethel High in Hampton, Va., in the late 1980s and then at Tennessee. He was an NFL first-round draft pick in 1993.

The two players, who hail from different eras of football, still found plenty of common ground on one subject.

The NCAA made that easy for them to do.

High school football recruits, beginning Aug. 1, no longer will have protective barriers or respites from contact with college football coaches.

The Division I Board of Directors approved a proposal 13-3 last month that eliminated all limitations on the number of times coaches are allowed to contact recruits. It also vanquished any dead periods for contact with targeted players.

It's open season all year long.

And neither Smith nor Kelly supported the move.

"I'll be interested to see how long this will last," said Kelly, "because, what's going to happen is, there are going to be some violations with some of these coaches. There are going to be some things with texts or Facebook that are violations, and I think that's what's going to end up nipping it in the bud."

Smith, a 2006 Mr. Football winner as a senior at Catholic, chose Notre Dame over Tennessee.

But he routinely heard from other programs such as Stanford, Ole Miss, Auburn and Virginia Tech. Text messaging wasn't as prevalent in society then as it is now, so that form of communication did not have NCAA restrictions at the time, Smith said.

Coaches used it plenty, and that exasperated Smith a bit.

"I remember waking up every morning and having texts from however many coaches, even coaches not

from the schools I listed," said Smith. "Not that I had to respond to them or anything, it just became part of your life.

"After a while, I just wanted to make my decision so that stuff would go away. I'm not one that wants to talk a whole lot on the phone. I would imagine most kids would be the same way."

Smith is thankful he doesn't have to go through the recruiting process these days.

As is Kelly, who said his head coach in high school served as a middle man between himself and college coaches.

"Just having that peace of mind and having that opportunity to have privacy, it was wonderful," said Kelly. "Now, they can go directly to the kids through social media."

Kelly's son, Todd Kelly Jr., will be a senior this fall at Webb. He is one of the nation's top prospects in the 2014 class. And the changes set forth by the NCAA have his father worried — for his son and other kids.

"The fear is distracting them from their education," said Kelly. "The kids, they're going to be more excited about being recruited than school work. That's a no-brainer."

Kelly and his wife set a plan in place months ago — once Todd Jr.'s recruitment heated up — to protect their son from incessant contact under the current rules.

They changed their son's cellphone number, and Todd Sr. asked college coaches to contact him instead.

But other teenage recruits won't have such solid home structure or a recruiting plan as Kelly Jr. has. They will be more vulnerable to having their phones beep and buzz all day, every day.

One can only hope the big-time recruits don't get charged per text message.

"To me, that's crazy," said Smith of the new rules. "I'm really glad I'm not part of that.

"The coaches have to do their jobs, too. But for the NCAA to do that, it doesn't seem they did that in the best interest of the student-athlete. I don't understand that."

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Comments » 11

Sir_Spanky writes:

They'll give you a free set of brass knuckles if you'll go to Alabama.

Mboroalum writes:

If Todd jr. would go ahead and commit to Tenn., maybe that would take some of the pressure off........just a thought.

GBO

tennrich1 writes:

Its certainly a slippery slope...one that can backfire really quickly...sounds like Todd Sr. is raising that boy right...could job, Todd!!!

Ayres_Hall writes:

I kinda like the changes. It'll separate the bad from the good. A good recruiter will know to ask permission when to contact and how much.

Face it. Coaches are not the one's texting, emailing, and sending the junk snail mail. It's students working for the coach. At least, that's the way it is at Alabama. One ESPN talking head spoke of walking into the Bama recruiting offices and seeing a room full of students working the phones, computers, and copy desks.

HooRay_Vol writes:

in response to Mboroalum:

If Todd jr. would go ahead and commit to Tenn., maybe that would take some of the pressure off........just a thought.

GBO

True but maybe he wants to wait and see if we will have the same coach in three years.

JayTee writes:

There is nothing in the rules that say high school kids MUST have acell phone so they can text.
You don't want someone contacting your son don't give him a phone.Use the old land line home phone.

Tnvolsfan4ever (Inactive) writes:

That's too much for kids to deal with.

goldengate writes:

"But other teenage recruits won't have such solid home structure or a recruiting plan as Kelly Jr. has. They will be more vulnerable to having their phones beep and buzz all day, every day.

One can only hope the big-time recruits don't get charged per text message."
****************************************************
Most of them probably have Obamaphones and the accompanying unlimited texting plans, so it's really not an issue, is it?

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

OMG...how horrible for these kids that people are competing to give them full ride scholarships and the opportunity to compete for a huge payday in the NFL or, at the very least, offer them a great education. That must be terrible! And to do so using social media, cell phones, and popularity...all things that high school students hate! Thank God I'm not a five star recruit. Choosing things is hard.

Boo freaking hoo Todd Kelly.

For the record, if anyone wants to legitimately offer to pay my full ride tuition, room and board, and tutoring for four years at...any...division 1 school, please let me know and you can blow up my cell phone and tell me how great I am for the next two years.

Also, my "I don't feel sorry for Derek Dooley" offer is still on the table. Anyone who wants to pay me a million dollars a year to fail at my job, I'll be more than willing to do that. Also, I'll agree to let you fire me for $5 mil. Oh and in exchange, everyone in TN can hate me. Deal?

ACWLY writes:

who's Garrison Smith ???????????????

Olddogsrule writes:

in response to DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho:

OMG...how horrible for these kids that people are competing to give them full ride scholarships and the opportunity to compete for a huge payday in the NFL or, at the very least, offer them a great education. That must be terrible! And to do so using social media, cell phones, and popularity...all things that high school students hate! Thank God I'm not a five star recruit. Choosing things is hard.

Boo freaking hoo Todd Kelly.

For the record, if anyone wants to legitimately offer to pay my full ride tuition, room and board, and tutoring for four years at...any...division 1 school, please let me know and you can blow up my cell phone and tell me how great I am for the next two years.

Also, my "I don't feel sorry for Derek Dooley" offer is still on the table. Anyone who wants to pay me a million dollars a year to fail at my job, I'll be more than willing to do that. Also, I'll agree to let you fire me for $5 mil. Oh and in exchange, everyone in TN can hate me. Deal?

I am sure the last line in your post has a good many 'followers' right now. No need to make deals.

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