One of the most intriguing recent football recruiting decisions involved Brevin White, a highly regarded four-star quarterback from California. Last July, White committed to Princeton over a number of Pac-12 and Power Five conference schools such as Washington, Arizona State and Tennessee. That, in and of itself gained some notice, but attention to White's recruiting ramped up to another level late last month when Nick Saban and national champion Alabama came calling.
Here's a breakdown of the reality of White's decision and the associated pitfalls.
Timing of Alabama's Offer - As noted above, Alabama did not offer White a scholarship until late January. Clearly, the Crimson Tide whiffed on their higher priority QB recruits and were jumping in late with White out of desperation as they have not yet signed a quarterback in the 2018 class. Clearly, White was a backup plan. Moreover, speaking of backup, he would have a strong likelihood of being a backup during his entire Alabama career should he have chosen to matriculate at Tuscaloosa. Alabama would have started to recruit over him immediately (if they have not already) upon his signing of a letter of intent with the Crimson Tide.
Playing Time - As noted above, White's playing time opportunity would have been a challenge at Alabama, not only due to being recruited over but also because Alabama already has two high level proven quarterbacks, Sophomore Jalen Hurts and Freshman Tua Tagovailoa (the stars of the last two national championship games). At Princeton, White will have the opportunity to start immediately as a freshman as record setting Tiger QB Chad Kanoff (who also turned down Power Five Vanderbilt to attend Princeton) is graduating.
Fit - White has a stated interest in pursuing a career in finance and the Princeton alumni network and value of an Ivy League degree is indispensable to breaking into Wall Street at the highest level. White was quoted as saying that Princeton, "Checks more boxes" to achieve his goals beyond football. Not to diminish the value of an Alabama degree and network, but it is clear that Princeton is a more ideal fit for White's overall goals and interests.
These issues with which White grappled are not uncommon for athletes of all levels. To his credit, he came back to reality after getting a bit caught up in the "big-time" hype and did his due diligence to determine the ideal fit with his overall goals and interests.
He serves as a example of how student-athletes need to make sure you "check the boxes" in the recruiting process. Unfortunately he is the exception as demonstrated by the alarmingly high transfer and sport abandonment rates among college athletes.
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