Well how about that: it looks like someone in the Southeastern Conference does take offense to ruthless recruiting tactics. Vanderbilt's James Franklin is clarifying his angry "men of honor" stance with the Atlanta Journal-Constitutionafter causing some small amount of scandal with comments construed as a knock on longtime Commodores commitment Josh Dawson of Tucker High School, who flipped to Georgia.
According to the AJC, Franklin spoke to a group of Vanderbilt supporters that players who de-committed from Vandy were not "men of honor" and "not men of integrity," adopting a hard line stance on players who waffle at the last minute in the heated recruiting wars. This was thought to be to a knock on Dawson, who did just that and went to UGA. Franklin clarified his comments to defuse the situation:
"I think I probably would’ve worded some things differently [that I said that day]. And I think it would’ve probably been reported a little differently than it was intended. But it is what it is. I have great respect for all the young men that committed to us. I have great respect for some of the men that changed their minds and went in another direction. They thought it was in the best interest for them and their family. But it hurts when you lose a guy when you’ve been recruiting him for a year."
Franklin's comments might have created a talking point similar to the issues in Big Ten v. Meyer, except for Patton Robinette, a quarterback from Maryville, Tenn., committed to North Carolina that walked out of early enrollment orientation at Chapel Hill... to enroll at Vanderbilt. The AJC asked new head coach Larry Fedora about Franklin's comments, and uh, yeah...
"What does [Franklin] say about the kids that were committed elsewhere and de-committed from their places to go to his place? That’s my comment. What is his comment on those people? He’s got someone in his recruiting class that did that very thing. He’s saying those guys are not men of honor? Basically, he’s saying he has got kids in his own recruiting class that are not men of honor. He said that, and I didn’t."
JAMES FRANKLIN, YOU'RE IN THE 'CROSSFIRE!' REPONSE?
"I think you get frustrated, and you get upset because kids commit to you," Franklin said. "But you’re exactly right. It was like the year before, when we got in here at the last minute and only had a month left for recruiting, we got kids to de-commit to us. I think that’s a very, very valid point."
What about Fedora’s comments? "I’m not going to comment about other colleges and what they said about us," Franklin said. "I’m not getting into that. All I can talk about is what we do here."
In summation, everything is exactly the same as it's ever been among southern football programs recruiting, and will always be such.
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