In case you haven’t heard, Kwame Geathers is going to play football at UCF next year. Oh wait, he’s actually going to Georgia. In case you missed it, Geathers pulled a brief “switcharoo” during his press conference on Friday. Some might find it funny, but for many it was anything but that.
Dozens of college coaches waited around with baited breaths, wondering if Kwame Geathers was going to choose their school. The four-star defensive tackle is one of the most dominant defensive players in the South, and Georgia, Tennessee, and UCF were all anxiously awaiting Geathers’ decision during his press conference on Friday.
It was considered an open race, with Georgia maintaining a slight lead over the two other schools. Still, no one was in a position to be confident with Geathers’ choice, meaning that three collegiate football staffs were awaiting the massive tackle’s decision.
So a little after 2:15, with his entire school in attendance, Geathers sat down with three hats in front of him with each hat representing one of his suitors. The young man then gave a genuine speech, thanking those around him for all of their support.
Then Geathers said he would be attending school at…well, he picked up a UCF hat and placed it on his head. For a brief moment, the Knights landed perhaps their biggest recruit since Daunte Culpepper.
That moment of glory was short lived though after Geathers took the hat off, put it on the table in front of him and threw on a University of Georgia hat.
Before I continue, let me throw this out there; this isn’t a case of “sour grapes.” Obviously, I would have loved for UCF to land Geathers, but that’s not what is bothering me here. It’s the fact that coaches feed their families by bringing in talented athletes. There are some coaches who specialize mainly in recruiting and to joke about making a decision like that is extremely insensitive.
I’m not trying to put down Kwame or the Geathers family. By all accounts, Kwame is a very well-adjusted young man and is a genuinely good person. The Geathers family has deep football roots and they have certainly become excellent representatives for professional and collegiate football. That being said, I honestly have a problem with what Kwame did.
The “hat move” came off as classless. What the intention was, I’m not sure, but it tugged at the heart-strings of coaches who invested a lot of time and money into recruiting him. I feel bad for any coach that has to watch the dreaded pick-a-hat press conference, but this tradition needs to stop.
A teammate of mine in high school, Recardo Wright, was a two-star linebacker that also did the pick-a-hat press conference, as he chose between Alabama and Florida State. He also put on a hat (Alabama) and then took it off to only throw on an FSU cap. Recardo is a great guy and is extremely down to earth, but I looked down upon that action even then. While it seems funny, is it really worth it? It shows disrespect for the coaches that recruited you, to the players that spent their time with you when you visited campus and again, it comes off as somewhat classless.
So at the end of the day, UCF lost out on a player that it recruited longer than Georgia and Tennessee. The Knights went after Geathers with a lot more effort than the other schools as well, but when it was all said and done, he went with the SEC school. I will never blame a player for that, but playing with people’s emotions is something I cannot condone. What made the switching of the hat so difficult to actually see or hear about was that for UCF, it would have been a monumental signing, but for Georgia, it was another solid four-star player to add to the arsenal.
Again, I’m not trying to put down Kwame, but more the entire pick-a-hat spectacle that high school players are becoming accustomed to. I get the reason behind it; it’s to get your friends and teammates pumped up at your actual decision. It might impress your piers and those associated with the school that you choose will likely get a kick out of it, but I can guarantee you that for everyone else who invested time and effort in your recruitment that it was anything but funny.