What should USF football have done about Connor Rafferty?
The biggest surprise of the day: USF pulled its scholarship offer from Robinson LT Connor Rafferty, his mother told our Joey Knight. A snippet from his story:
Tracy Rafferty told the Times early Monday morning that new Bulls offensive coordinator Walt Wells informed Rafferty by phone around 10:30 on Sunday evening. Rafferty's dad, Robin, called Wells back and was told Connor wasn't in the plans of new Bulls coach Willie Taggart's staff, Tracy Rafferty said.
"He said it would be in Connor's best interest if he were to pursue other offers at this time," Tracy Rafferty said.
"He said that they looked at film and they compared him with other offers they had, and that he was on the list but they didn't think they would get to him. So he said in his professional opinion, it would be in his best interest to pursue any other offers he would have."
Stories like this one are part of the underbelly of recruiting.
It’s tough for Rafferty, who was a strong USF commit who stopped going to other camps. His loyalty wasn’t rewarded – now he has three weeks until signing day to find a college home. I remember a five-star player a few years ago saying he would stay in touch with many of the coaches recruiting him, even after he committed, just in case something happened. I'm not criticizing Rafferty, but there's a lesson to be learned.
USF wasn’t in an easy situation, either. When new coaches enter, they bring different evaluation techniques, different styles and different systems. Maybe Rafferty would have worked fine under Skip Holtz, but not under the new regime. If that’s the case, then the Bulls have an obligation to find the right player for them. If offensive line woes give USF problems and led to losing records in the coming years, loyalty to Rafferty wouldn't have kept coaches from losing their jobs. That said, if the new staff is focused on recruiting the heck out of Tampa Bay, burning a bridge to Robinson isn't a good start.
This is bad all around, like the USC issue that had some people upset with Leon McQuay III. What’s the solution? An early signing period? Nothing?