Consider Ole Miss linebacker C.J. Johnson the new poster child for college football Luddites - who should really get on board with tomorrow - pining loudly about the "good old days." Remember when a poor-mouthing blue chip could inexplicably upgrade whips while raising only the appropriate amount of on-campus eyebrows, and not, say, the blogosphere of an entire sport? Truly a halcyon era.
Over the weekend, Sports By Brooks microwaved Johnson's nearly month-old Tweets about rather magically owning a new truck with news accounts of his bitter in-state recruitment that culminated on Facebook, as the five-star recruit defended claims his mother took money from Rebel boosters... by boasting about driving a humble, high-mileage truck.
Monday morning Johnson's Twitter account was deactivated, but only because Ole Miss officials and Johnson happened to be talking social media strategies at that particular moment, and developed a branding ethos absent of heavy profanity and Twit Pics of shiny new Chevy trucks. You know, coincidences like that.
The Rebels very, very much need Johnson, and not for the intangible luster of landing a future star: Ole Miss finished 2010 with the league's worst defense, lost their best linebacker to a ACL tear in spring practice and booted another, Atlanta native Clarence Jackson (North Clayton HS), for rowdy-brand drankin' and "borrowing" TVs.
Johnson's every move in Oxford is of great, Iron Bowl levels of obsessive interest to rival Mississippi State: Hailing from Philadelphia, Miss., a State "backyard" community, Johnson was committed to the Bulldogs through most of his senior year but jumped to Ole Miss in late January. His MSU commitment was tied to former defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who left Starkville to replace Will Muschamp at Texas, but State fans cried foul, dizzied by the reasoning of comparative appeal - the Bulldogs' Gator Bowl season versus the hapless Rebels' 4-8 implosion.
But stop us if you've already heard pious Mississippi State reckoning that the only reason they could lose a nationally coveted recruit is because of dirty tactics employed by a division rival that they'd never dream of replicating. Don't be cynical; Clearly you've never enjoyed a postcard Spring morning in idyllic Starkville, BECAUSE NO ONE WOULD WILLINGLY LEAVE THAT WAKING DREAM FOR ANYTHING BUT THE DEVIL'S MONEY.