Sound the alarm again! Ely cornerback Patrick Johnson does not want to be a Hurricane anymore. In the great words of my all-time favorite SNL character Matt Foley, played by the late great Chris Farley: "Well, la-dee-freakin-da!"
Can't say anyone should be surprised by this. In fact, I think Johnson, a five-star.com Rivals recruit and one heck of a cornerback, deserves some sort of an award. Maybe, Hurricane Recruit Hustler of The Year. Not once in the decade I've been covering recruiting in South Florida -- and I had a doozy with Willie Williams -- has a recruit created more of a stir/confusion among locals than PJ.
When he committed to UM in April, he flashed The U every chance he got. He told the local media everything Canes fans wanted to hear. And then he told the media from LSU everything they wanted to hear. And then he told the Florida folks the same thing. And then he told the FSU people he was going there. And then everyone wasn't sure where he was going. And then it turned into the greatest mystery in South Florida this football season.
I'm not trying to put Patrick Johnson down. After all, he's an 18-year old with a bright future, which he said today will no longer include the University of Miami. And, every kid deserves a chance to enjoy the recruiting process whichever way they see fit. Want to fool everyone? It's your right. Johnson obviously loved the limelight as did his family throughout this process.
But I hope this PJ saga will teach everyone involved a lesson.
To the fans, I hope it reminds you not to hang onto every word a teenager tells you. I hope this shows you this recruiting process -- this need to know which way a kid is leaning when he wakes up and then when goes to sleep is absurd. It ultimately means nothing until they sign a letter of intent and until they prove they have the grades and the test scores to get in.
To the kids and potential recruits who hope to follow in the footsteps of Johnson, I hope the outrage pouring out of bitter, local UM fans today will teach you that when you are in the public limelight, telling people what they want to hear and being dishonest is never good. Nobody likes liars. Johnson could have very well been a confused teenager in this whole process. His heart could have been with the Canes, but his interest in other places. But there is no need to be committed to any school if you aren't sure. It's OK to say I don't know. There certainly isn't a need to go on the radio or TV and pledge allegiance to someone when you know nothing is further from the truth. It makes you look like a liar.
The media isn't void of taking some heat here either. After all, there is a hungry machine that needs to be fed. The interest in high school recruiting is hitting all-time record highs. At The Miami Herald alone, the most read stories I've written in the past few months all pertain to the Hurricanes recruiting efforts (those Northwestern player profiles were huge hits). God knows .Com's have cashed in big-time with this recruiting talk. But I hope in some respect maybe this PJ saga will teach us all to settle down a little bit. News should only be news when something actually happens or is going to happen. I'm not perfect. I've fielded questions before on this blog about what-ifs and what-nots plenty (it's what this blog is for). But I think it's safe to say we've all gone a little overboard with recruiting -- the fans, the kids and the media. And maybe this PJ saga finally showed us all how bizarre it is.
Good luck PJ -- wherever you end up.