Somebody out there is trying to undercut Kevin Sumlin's recruiting efforts by telling recruits that Texas A&M is too loaded at wide receiver for a freshman to make an impact. Sumlin won't say which opposing coach might do such a thing, but his message is to the recruits, anyway: "If you're scared, then this ain't the place for you."
Sumlin refuted the notion by pointing out that the Aggies even have room for walk-on wideouts to make a difference.
"I know a lot of things are being said out there in recruiting, particularly right now with certain guys, of 'Why would you go there and play receiver, they're loaded?' ... If that's the case, then that's the case. If you're scared, then this ain't the place for you," Sumlin said, according to chron.com. "We've got plenty of guys who play here, we've got highly-recruited guys and we've got Boone Niederhofer, who nobody recruited, who can walk out on that field and catch eight passes for however many yards."
It's a problem that's nothing new for coaches at successful, big-time programs. Their recruiting pitch is that they are winning a lot of games and moving plenty of players onto the NFL. But the recruiting pitch of schools that aren't quite successful is this: "You have to get on the field to have a chance at the NFL, and you can play much more quickly at our school." Sumlin, surely, didn't run into much negative recruiting when he was at Houston and competing for prospects that weren't necessarily wanted by major programs. But two-plus years into his highly successful Texas A&M tenure, he's learning that there are no unwritten rules when you're recruiting at the top.
Sumlin's reference to Niederhofer drives home the point that if there is room for a walk-on in the Aggies' lineup, there should certainly be room for anyone he is recruiting for a scholarship. On his radio show, Sumlin brought up the topic yet again. And again, he challenged recruits not to be swayed.
"... If you can't see that for what it is, that's not our fault," Sumlin said. "I'm not going to back away from that. We want guys who want to come here and be able to play here. At Oklahoma, DeMarco Murray didn't flinch when Adrian Peterson was there. Good players want to play with good players, because they want to win. If they don't, then this isn't the place for them."
Sumlin's play here with recruits is the right one -- and frankly, the only one -- that coaches in his position can take with recruits that are overly concerned about early playing time. The alternative is making promises about playing time that can't always be kept, which can lead to locker-room discontent.