football

Family puts twist on decision for five-star CB

Vernon hargreaves iii 2 200 1 1
Thesituationundoubtedlyisalittlebitawkward.
Howcanitnotbe?
AstheNo.10overallprospectintheClassof2013,Tampa(Fla.)WhartoncornerbackVernonHargreavesIIIcouldchoosetoplayjustaboutanywhere.OneoftheschoolsunderconsiderationisUSF.Hargreaves'father,alsonamedVernonHargreaves,happenstoworkasUSF'sspecialteamscoordinatoranddefensiveendscoach.
AndthatnaturallycouldleadtosomedelicateconversationswheneverHargreaveswantstodiscusshiscollegeselectionprocess.Sure,Hargreaves'parentswouldlovetoseehimplayforUSF.Butthey'remoreinterestedinmakingsurehemakestherightdecisionforhimself.
"Myparentsdon'tsteermeanywhere,"Hargreavessaid."You'dthinkmydadwouldtryto,butmydadleavesittoothercoaches.Hesayshedoesn'twantanydramaabouthimbeingmydad.HetalkstomeaboutotherschoolsmorethanUSF,aboutwhereI'dwanttovisit."
Hargreavesisn'ttheonly2013recruitgoingthroughthissituation.
Kent(Ohio)TheodoreRooseveltquarterbackTra'VonChapmanistheNo.106playerintheClassof2013.HisfatherisKentStatewidereceiverscoachThadJemison,andhisdad'sschoolwasthefirsttoofferhimlastfall.Chapmanhassincereceivedoffersfrommajor-conferenceprogramsArizona,Cincinnati,Illinois,NorthwesternandPittsburgh.
Fayetteville(Ark.)HighquarterbackAustinAllenisthesonofArkansassecondarycoachBobbyAllenandtheyoungerbrotherofRazorbacksquarterbackBrandonAllen.AlthoughAllencallsArkansashisleader,hehasn'tcommittedanywhereyetandalsohasoffersfromthelikesofOleMiss,NorthCarolina,NotreDame,USFandVanderbilt.
"HegivesmeadvicetojustgowhereIfeelcomfortable,"Allensaidofhisfather."I'msurehe'dlikemetogotoArkansas.Mymomwouldlikemetostayclosetohomeatleast.That'swhatshesays.Shedoesn'twantmetogoacrossthecountryorwhatever.Buttheyprettymuchjustsaygowherevermyheartwantstogo.''
Theserecruitsarefreetodiscusstheircollegeselectionprocesswiththeirdads.Forobviousreasons,NCAAregulationslimitingcommunicationwithrecruitsarewaivedinfather-sonsituationssuchasthese.
NCAArecruitingcontactandevaluationlimitationsalsodon'tapplytoamemberofacoachingstaffwhoistheparentorguardianofaparticipantinapractice,contestorcamp,providedthecoachdoesn'thavepersonalcontactwithanyotherparticipatingprospectattheevent.
SigningHargreaveswouldrepresentamajorcoupforUSF,whichhasneversignedatop-50prospectdirectlyoutofhighschool.TheonlyRivals100recruitstosignwithUSFoutofhighschoolwereSeffner(Fla.)ArmwooddefensiveendRyneGiddins(No.61)in2009andTampa(Fla.)HillsboroughcornerbackTerrenceMitchell(No.89)in2010.
[MoreUSF:USFBullsEye.com.com]
USF'shighest-ratedrecruitsoftenhavebeenjunior-collegeorprep-schoolplayers.
Theonlyfive-starprospectevertosignwithUSFwasMikeFord,a2007runningbackfromChatham(Va.)HargraveMilitaryAcademy.DefensiveendJasonPierre-Paul,theeventualfirst-rounddraftpicknowstarringfortheNewYorkGiants,wasthenation'sNo.6juniorcollegerecruitin2009whenhesignedwithUSFoutofFortScott(Kan.)CommunityCollege.
Itcertainlyisn'tlostontheHargreavesfamilyhowmuchthisrecruitmentcouldmeantoUSF'sprogram.Butthatdoesn'tmeaneitherparentisgoingtoencouragehimtosignwiththeBulls.
Infact,thebiggestrecruiterinthefamilyisHargreaves'sister,whoisn'tevensidingwiththeirfather'sschool.CarinaHargreavesisaUniversityofFloridasophomoreandamemberoftheGators'competitivecheersquad.
"She'stellingmehowitis[atFlorida],howawesomeitisandwhatever,"Hargreavessaid.
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HargreavesisconsideringUSFandadmitshethoughtaboutcommittingthereearlierinhisjunioryear.Theonlytimeheplayedforhisfatherwasasa7-year-oldinflagfootball.Hecertainlywouldlovetogetmoreofanopportunitytobecoachedbyhisdad.
Buthenowconsidershimselfwideopenwithnoclear-cutfront-runner.Heknowsthefollyinselectingaschoolonlybecausehisfatherworksthere.
Recruitsoftenareremindedtopickaschoolbasedonitsownmeritsratherthanonarelationshipwithacoachwhocouldleaveatanytime.Hargreavesunderstandsthatlogicbetterthanmost.He'sactuallylivedthroughit.
HargreavesspentmuchofhischildhoodinsouthFloridawhilehisfatherspenteightyearscoachingatUniversityofMiami(1998-2005)andoneseasonatFloridaInternational(2006).HemovedtoNorthCarolinainseventhgradewhenhisdadjoinedSkipHoltz'sstaffatEastCarolina.HeheadedbacktoFloridain2010whenhisdadfollowedHoltzfromEastCarolinatoUSF.
"SomeofthecoachesonthestaffhereatUSF,wewerewiththematEastCarolina;anditdoeshelpthatwekindofknowthemandthey'resortoffamilybecausewe'vebeentogethersolong,"saidHargreaves'mother,JackieHargreaves."Thatkindofwouldalmosthelpinmakingadecision,thefactyoucanbearoundpeopleyouhonestlyknowandpeoplewhohaveyourbestinterestsatheart.
"Butatthesametime,coachingislikethemilitary.Youneverknowwhereyou'regoingtobefromyeartoyear.OurbiggestconcernisthatVernonfindsomeplacewherehe'scomfortable,wherehefitsinandthathaseverythinghe'slookingforinaschool,notjustthefactthathisdadworkshere.Hecouldbetheretwoyearsandthenhisdadgetsanotherjob.Thelastthingyouwantisforhimtocomebackandsay,'Ionlycommittedherebecauseyouwerehere.'''
TheHargreavesfamilycanlookwithinUSF'sownstaffforexperienceonhowtodealwiththisdilemma.
NewUSFdefensivecoordinatorChrisCoshwasworkingatKansasStatewhenhissonBilly,athree-starquarterbackrecruit,signedwiththeWildcatsin2010.BillyCosheventuallytransferredtoJamesMadisonandhassincemovedontoButler(Kan.)CommunityCollege.
JackieHargreavessaidsherecentlyspokewithChrisCosh'swife,Mary,abouttherecruitingexperience.
"Heradvicetomeisjustmakesureit'sagoodfit,nomatterwherehechooses,"shesaid.
Thepossibilityofthefathergettingajobelsewhereisn'ttheonlyproblemthatcanarisewhenarecruitsignstoplayfordad'sschool.
CodyHawkinssignedwithColoradoin2006toplayforhisfather,DanHawkins,andeventuallyemergedastheBuffaloes'startingquarterback.Buthisdualstatusasthestartingquarterbackandthecoach'ssonmadehimamajortargetforcriticismafterhebegantostruggle.Hawkinslosthisstartingjobinthe2009season,andhisdadwasfiredthefollowingyear.
Sometimesthefamilydynamiccanmakethelowsthatmuchlower.Thenagain,italsocanmakethehighsthatmuchhigher.Hargreavesdoesn'thavetolookfartorealizethat.AllhehastodoiswatchtheNCAAtournament.
RayMcCallumwasaMcDonald'sAll-AmericaguardwhoturneddownoffersfromArizona,FloridaandUCLAamongotherstoplayforhisdadatDetroit.FatherandsonjustledDetroittoitsfirstNCAAtournamentbidsince1999.DougMcDermottisaformermid-majorrecruitwhohasdevelopedintoanAll-AmericanwhileplayingforhisfatheratCreighton.
"Thethingaboutitthathasbeengreatforme-exciting-isIgettoseehimeveryday,"DetroitcoachRayMcCallumSr.said."Igettobeapartofhislifeashisdadandashiscoach.Andthebigthinghewantsfrommeistojustkindofhelphimgetbettereachandeveryday.Soit'sbeenexciting,alotoffunforme.I'msurehehadhischallenges,butit'sbeenagreatexperience.''
Ofcourse,inallthreeofthesecases,thefatherwasaheadcoach.TheelderHargreavesisanassistantwhodoesn'tcoachhisson'sposition,sothereprobablywouldn'tbequiteasmuchpressure.ThequestioniswhetherUSFprovidestherightfitforhim,whetherhisfatheristhereornot.
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ClickHeretoviewthisLink.Hargreavesknowshe'sinforatoughdecision,butheatleastispreparedtomakeit.Asthesonofanassistantcoach,heunderstandstherecruitinggamebetterthanmostofhispeers.
"WhenmyhusbandcoachedatMiami,wewerearoundsomegreatkids-JonathanVilma,VinceWilfork,EdReed,"JackieHargreavessaid."SomeofthoseguysatMiamiusedtobabysitforhim.They'dtalktousaboutfootball.They'dgooutandthrowthefootballwithhim."
HisfamilyalsohasrealizedforquitesometimethatHargreaveswouldbeacovetedrecruit.
JackieHargreavesnotedthathersonwasonlyinseventhgradewhenEastCarolinaassistantcoachRickSmithstartedtalkingaboutHargreavesasapotentialDivisionIplayer.SmithnowworksasUSF'sdefensivebackscoach.
"Rickkindofkeptitinourearthatnomatterwhereheendedup,he'dofferVernonascholarship,"JackieHargreavessaid.
Nowthattheofferhascome,Hargreavesmustdecidewhethertoaccept.
Hargreavessaidheremainsalongwayfromchoosingacollege,thoughhealreadyhassoughthisfamilyforadviceonanumberofoccasions.TherewereacoupleoftimesearlierinhisjunioryearwhenHargreavesconsideredcommittingtoapairofdifferentschools.Heinsteadremainsuncommitted.
"Atonepoint,Iwantedtocommit,"Hargreavessaid."IwantedtocommittoUSF.IwantedtocommittoFlorida.Italkedtomymomfirst,andshewaslike,'Youhavetowaittoseeyourotheroptions.'''
Asheweighsthoseoptions,Hargreavesprobablywillapproachhisparentsforinputonceagain.
Theyalreadyseemtohaveaprettygoodideahowthey'drespond.
"We'dloveforhimtobehere,"JackieHargreavessaid."EspeciallyIwould.I'dbeabletoseehimplayeveryweekandbeheretosupporttheBullsaswell.Butit'sgottobeagoodfit,regardlessofwherehechoosestogo."
SteveMegargeeisthenationalcollegecolumnistforRivals.com.Hecanbereachedatsmegargee@rivals.com,andyoucanclickheretofollowhimonTwitter.
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