Kentucky Football Recruiting - What does an "offer" mean?


There is a great debate and twitter nerd fight going on concerning Florida QB D.J. Gillins. He says he has an offer, ESPN and 247 Sports say he has an offer. 247 Sports even has gone so far as to say he was offered on February 12th. Rivals shows no offer. Scout shows no offer, but Scout also doesn’t apparently know that he’s de-committed from Texas Tech. So, does he or doesn't he have an offer?

Let me start this by saying that I am no "expert" and I claim no "insider" knowledge. While I have no objections to someone trying to make a buck off of "premium" information, I don’t subscribe to the belief that "premium" information is all that important. So, what’s the deal? Justin Rowland at Cats Illustrated and someone with the twitter moniker, @RecruitKentucky who runs Kentucky Blue Sports News are having a major nerd fight concerning football recruit D.J. Gillins.

Rowland and others "in the know" maintain that Gillins has no offer and if he did it would be a non-committable offer. They maintain that UK is only going after one QB this year and that QB is Drew Barker.

Confusing? You betcha. And, it gets even more confusing considering Kentucky has offered seven quarterbacks according to my records: Reggie Bonnafon (Offer Date: 2/14/13) (Louisville Commit), Rafe Peavey (Offer Date:8/16/12)(Arkansas Commit), Drew Barker (KY), Tyler Harris (GA) (Offer Date: 3/22/13), DeShone Kizer (OH)(Offer Date: 6/20/12), E.J. Moss (AL) (Offer Date: 2/21/13), and D.J. Gillins (FL).

I believe that Bonnafon was nothing more than a courtesy offer because he’s a Kentucky kid. Peavey was offered by the previous staff and that has probably been withdrawn. E. J. Moss is being recruited as an Athlete, although he disputes that to a degree.

DeShone Kizer is another interesting recruiting situtation. Rivals says he has no offer. 247 Sports says he was offered by the previous staff on 6/20/12. Kizer lists UK as one of his favorites. Scout says he has an offer. ESPN says he has an offer and he was recruited by Randy Sanders. Kizer is a consensus 4 star and Rivals has rated him at 5.8. He is on ESPN’s Watch List.

Tyler Harris – He’s on ESPN’s Watch List as a pocket passer. ESPN doesn’t show an offer for him. Scout says Harris has a Kentucky offer. He’s rated as a Scout 4 Star. 247 Sports says he has an offer from Bradley Dale Peveto. Rivals shows an offer. They rate him as a 5.5 rated 3 Star. I believe he was offered on 3/22/12.

Drew Barker– At least everyone is in agreement that he’s Kentucky’s primary target. Much has been written about it, including, apparently, 115 letters from the Kentucky staff. He’s planning on attending South Carolina’s and Kentucky’s Spring Games and he may soon be visiting Tennessee. He’s on ESPN’s Watch List and is a consensus 4 star. Rivals rates him at 5.8. Barker was offered by the previous staff on 1/16/12. There was very little contact with Barker until Stoops and Brown came to UK. Prior to that Barker had no interest in Kentucky because of the way he was recruited.

D.J. Gillins – Details are shown above. He is also a consensus 4 Star and on ESPN’s Watch List. Rivals rates him at 5.9. Gillins was recruited by Neal Brown at Texas Tech and made a verbal commitment. When Brown came to Kentucky, that verbal to Texas Tech suddenly became a "soft verbal." Now, Gillins has de-committed from Texas Tech. There is a risk with Gillins. He suffered a knee injury last year and did not play the whole season.

So, what is a committable offer versus a non-committable offer? I googled both and found this. I wasn’t quite satisfied with this so I searched some more and found this SB Nation article, titled College Football Recruiting Starts Earlier And Earlier, Whether NCAA Likes It Or Not.

This article makes it very clear that the NCAA doesn’t allow written offers until August 1st of a prospect's senior year. Everything up to that point is verbal and non-binding which is also the case for commitments.

A written offer doesn’t necessarily guarantee a recruit a spot at a school, and a prospect cannot commit to a written offer in any more meaningful way before National Signing Day than he can to a verbal offer offer.

One can conclude, then, all offers are verbal and therefore non-binding. The same is true of commitments. Even written offers on or after August 1st have no real meaning because they are not legally binding.

The only offer that is recognized by the NCAA that can be litigated as legally binding is the written offer included in the Letter of Intent. Both of these gentlemen involved in the disagreement should, and probably do, know this.

This great debate and accompanying twitter row is much to do about nothing of substance and is more about egos. It is also more about "being right" when neither is factually correct.

For the two combatants, they probably consider it a credibility issue. At least Justin Rowland uses his real name, and the other guy uses an Internet moniker that he can hide behind. The fact is that they both should know, and probably do know, what I’ve shown above to be factual.

Back to Committable and Non-committable offers. Since both are verbal and non-binding, what is the difference? Essentially, there isn’t a difference. From the SB Nation article:

…The process of extending all of these verbal offers has even spawned a new definition of the term "Committable."

com·mitta·ble adj.:The binary measure of an offer’s validity: Randy discovered that his verbal offer to State University was not committable at the time, as the school had other prospects rated higher on its board.

The reality, of course: an offer that is not committable is not an true offer. It’s a mere expression of interest by the school in the recruit.

It is, however, an interesting back-and-forth, but can do damage to the recruitment in question. Gillins is upset and believes Rowland is calling him a liar. He can resolve the issue with a verbal commitment.

You can read both sides of this dispute here and here. In both, you will need to scroll down to March 30th to get the action. You can also Gillins tweet in the Recruit Kentucky tweets. I suggest you read what both have to say, if for no other reason than the entertainment value.

UK, of course, cannot comment on any recruit until they’ve signed that Letter of Intent accepting the written offer of a scholarship. I highly recommend you read the SB Nation article. You will be far more informed than 99% of the posters on all the UK forums.

I would like to thank Bud Elliot @SBNRecruiting for writing and posting the article that helped clarify the question.

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