2013 Football Recruiting: Caleb Brantley And The Varying Degrees Of A Commitment

On Monday, we learned that 2013 defensive tackle Caleb Brantley had adjusted the level of his commitment to the Florida Gators. The four-star DT from Crescent City, FL (Crescent City) stated via Facebook that he was now a soft verbal commitment to Florida, dropping his status down from solid verbal commitment. Brantley maintains he is still committed to the Gators and head coach Will Muschamp understands where the defensive tackle stands, but that he may have jumped into his commitment too early.

In addition to wanting to take visits to other schools, Brantley is concerned about the depth chart at defensive tackle. He seems like someone that wants to play immediately and were Dominique Easley and Sharrif Floyd to return for their senior seasons, the guess is Brantley wants to know what his role would be. He doesn’t want to spend his first season watching from the sidelines, but instead wants to learn on the job.

This development is hardly shocking and could be viewed as just another example of the way the recruiting world turns. Until a player signs his letter of intent, he is nothing more than verbally committed to a school. Whether we want to clarify that verbal commitment as solid or soft, it’s still nothing more than a recruit claiming which school tops his list in many cases. Brantley may still end up signing with the Gators – Florida still holds the lead – but he may sign elsewhere as well. At the moment, he’s being honest in saying that he may have jumped the gun and would like to learn a little more before he makes a final decision.

Brantley remains committed for now and has mentioned it would take a lot for that to change, but he does want to visit other schools and make an informed decision. Among those schools are Alabama, Florida State and USC.

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7 Responses to 2013 Football Recruiting: Caleb Brantley And The Varying Degrees Of A Commitment

  1. DRU2012 says:

    I understand the “reality of the world we live in” now, but I also must say that I am personally pretty sick of the whole idea of “soft commitments”, and hedging on one’s word. This one is a perfect example: this young man wants the Head Coach to make a promise he can’t possibly make with truthful sincerity, guaranteeing a “place on the field” his freshman season “no matter what”, and meanwhile that player now reserves the right to back out of any commitment HE has made. In other words, both parties have got their fingers crossed behind their backs–and ultimately, neither owes the other ANYTHING! Hell of a start to such an important decision AND long-term relationship, and no way to build the network of mutual trust that is a “team”.
    We’ve already “missed” on a couple of prospective recruits because our Head Coach won’t go that route, wants kids that, as he puts it, are ready and willing to “do things The Florida Way”…that upset some fans, who saw it as “failure”, this past NSD. I have and will continue to support him in this. Muschamp knows he needs to bring in top-level talent, and he’s doing that–he just also knows that the difference between a loose collection of talented young players who never amount to much, and a team that excels, is how they fit and play together. Coaching isn’t just plays and schemes, but rather overseeing the pursuit of excellence in every phase of the game. That goes for everyone on that team, in themselves and in relation to each other.

    • I think what it really comes down to is that a “commitment” isn’t always that. I like Brantley as a player and think he’ll make a fine addition to the program. However, is he really committed if he has a definitive No. 2 and two teams tied at No. 3? That’s fine if he does and also fine if he still needs time to make sure he made the right decision. The last thing we want is for him to sign and then realize he didn’t make the right decision for him. We’ve had a few players not even make it through their first fall in the past.

      Muschamp gets a lot of that from his time at Texas. There, they fill classes early and want kids that are 100% confident. I’m sure Muschamp would love to have the same thing at Florida, but he also realizes that these are teenage kids that might not be completely sure what’s best for them just yet and sometimes they react quickly when faced with an offer. I don’t think he doesn’t trust Brantley and I don’t think we shouldn’t trust him just yet either. I think he just wants Brantley to be confident in his decision.

      There’s also the part of it that the school can back out as well. We like to think this doesn’t happen all that often and definitely hope it doesn’t at Florida, but not every kid that decides to transfer or decommit does so willingly.

      In a perfect world, when a kid was done with the decision-making process, he would sign and that would be that, but it doesn’t work that way and without some form of commitment, it would also be hard for coaches to fill their classes accurately. I agree in that I wish “soft” commitments would go away. Not that I want Brantley to go away, but if he still needs time, that’s okay. No need to clarify the degree of his commitment. We all know he wants to look at a few other places before his decision is final. I don’t see a problem in that.

  2. Edward Koch says:

    The entire concept of ‘commitments’ prior to signing day in February is based on the fans desire for ‘news’ and certain publications desire to bring ‘exciting news’ to its readers. In reality, there are no commitments until signing day. Until then a commitment is merely an 18 year old with a given preference on a given day.

    • True, but at the same time it does also allow coaching staffs the ability to get an idea of what they may have and what they may need. If players didn’t commit at all until they signed their LOI on signing day and gave no indication of what they might do, classes wouldn’t fill the needs of a program (or you might have a class with 10 running backs…that’s an exaggeration, but I think you know what I’m getting at).

      The commitment really doesn’t mean anything until the recruit signs his LOI, but it does go beyond news for the fans.

      • One Eyed Willy says:

        And lets not forget that it’s still a minority of players who commit and then de-commit at at a later time. Most stick by their commitment and never waiver. It’s just we forget about those guys and focus our attention on the ones who are wishy-washy. Funny though that we never seem to have a problem when a kid de-commits from another school and then chooses UF. We all love Matt Elam and he de-committed a half dozen times before deciding on UF.

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