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January 3, 2013

Players recruiting players: Does it work?


MORE: U.S. Army All-American Bowl

A tweet from five-star Crete (Ill.) Monee wide receiver Laquon Treadwell sent on Wednesday afternoon confirmed what many at the Under Armour All-America Game expect, but that doesn't make it any less intriguing.

"Dang, (there's) a lot of recruiting going on at the UA game by other recruits," the tweet read.

What recruits say to each other about commitments when fans and media aren't around is fodder for recruiting followers.

And sure, it's fun to talk about, but how much stock do players put in other players' opinions of programs?

"If you're really considering that school, and someone that is really a big-time player is in your ear about that school, that plays a factor," Treadwell said. "For me, probably about an eight on a scale of 1-10."

Treadwell is among several high-profile recruits considering Ole Miss, which suddenly has built buzz, especially with the No. 1 player in the country, Robert Nkemdiche, interested. Earlier in the week, when asked about Mississippi and the list of top players considering committing, Treadwell said the coaching staff is looking to players to 'recruit themselves'.

"Me and Robert talk a lot," he said. "Me and Elijah (Daniel), Carl (Lawson), we all talk a lot about it. I'm not sure how much they all talk, but every time I see them I always whisper something in their ear and see what they think about it."

Nkemdiche acknowledged that once he makes his decision, that it could very well spur other notable commitments. But to him, there's no urgency.

"I don't feel any pressure," he said. "None."

Others might. When Nkemdiche was committed to Clemson, his Grayson teammates, David Kamara and Wayne Gallman were seemingly part of the package. Once Nkemdiche de-committed, it wasn't long before Kamara followed suit. He has an offer with Ole Miss, but Gallman does not.

For his part, Nkemdiche says he is negotiating the balance between doing what's right for him and considering the futures of others seemingly attached to him.

"Sort of it's like 50-50," he said. "If you recruit good players, that's the people you're going to be playing with, so you know, if you know (another player) will be good, what's wrong with recruiting them?"

For months, the expectation has been Nkemdiche's brother and mother will motivate his eventual commitment to Ole Miss. While other players might be recruiting him, he maintains that it's his family's opinions that take precedent.

"I put a lot on that, that's my brother," he said. "I take his opinion really personally. That's blood. If he says something or my mom says something, it's the same thing, they're blood."

Other examples of player recruitment may be more of the norm.

Four-star Loranger, La., DB Jeryl Brazil, an LSU commit, has been pushing fellow Louisianian Kendell Beckwith. Beckwith is said to be deciding between the Tigers and Alabama.

The look of confidence on Brazil's face when talking about Beckwith's upcoming choice is obvious, because he's done his fair share of trying to sway his friend.

"I was just telling Kendell that I think that he should come to LSU because I think he'll make an impact on our incoming freshmen," he said. "He has the ability to play early, but he's a great kid and a great athlete and it would be nice to have him as part of the team."

Beckwith says that he's been listening, but Brazil's words aren't going to make his final decision.

"I take heed to some of the stuff other players say, but that doesn't affect my decision too much," he said. "If I know guys have been to a school multiple times, especially if they're committed to a school, I just ask them about how it really is after they've committed; like if the coaches' attitudes change."

At least within the sampling of players at the Under Armour game, it's a mixed bag as to what players do with other players' opinions.

"When I saw what guys schools were bringing in, that's what really helped me choose my top three," Treadwell said. "You just know that you want to go in and have a great team while you're there and win games and win national championships."



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