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franklin county times

Calm down on message boards

It is national signing day and high school seniors across the nation will declare their choice for the college program that will be the beneficiary of their service.

Signing day can make or break a program. In 2007 Auburn recruited most of the offensive line that helped guide the Tigers to a national championship.

Nick Saban’s recruiting as Alabama poised to be an annual contender for the national championship for years to come.

With so much potential surrounding each athlete committing to a college, it is not surprising fans — especially the rabid fans of Southeastern Conference teams — follow the recruiting process all year long.

Unfortunately, some fans take their enthusiasm too far — especially on Internet message boards.

While many posts on these boards are encouraging to the recruits, some fans use them as an anonymous soapbox to rip any top prospect that selected a rival school instead of that fan’s favorite team.

It happened when Russellville’s Brent Calloway changed his commitment from Alabama to Auburn. When he was a solid Alabama commitment, the Bama faithful had nothing but praise for him.

When he changed his commitment, some fans were quick to post that Calloway wasn’t a good player and he couldn’t compete with others on Alabama’s depth chart.

I use Calloway as an example because he is a local player, but this phenomenon is not limited to Alabama, Auburn and the rest of the SEC.

For some reason people tend to think that if a player does not want to play for their team than the player was either scared of competition for playing time or he was paid off.

The worst thing about these message boards is people do not have to be held responsible for their allegations.

It never seems to occur to them that players are 18-year-old kids making the biggest decision of their lives and might feel more comfortable at another school.

It is a shame somebody who probably did not go to college and lacks the talent to be a third-string, walk-on water boy chooses to slam a player.

Respect a recruit’s decision, and if that decision is to play for a rival school, don’t slam his choice — just root against his new team.