Last week, Bleacher Report lead college football writer Adam Kramer wrote a story about Jesus Machado Jr., an eighth-grade linebacker in Miami who has already received verbal scholarship offers from Alabama, Michigan State, NC State, Iowa State and West Virginia.
Reactions came fast and furious.
“I put out a story like this and it’s amazing the responses I get on Twitter,” Kramer said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “This is a really hot issue, and when people hear ‘Eighth grader being recruited’ it makes a lot of their skin crawl. I don’t necessarily feel that way. Jesus Machado talked to his family, talked to his coach. I’ll be honest: I came away very impressed in how they handled this. Now keep in mind: This is an eighth grader who plays varsity football and had 12 sacks and nearly 100 tackles this year. he’s 6-1, 195 pounds – so this is not your average eighth-grader.”
Machado, 15, likely would have eclipsed 100 tackles last season but missed one game due to food poisoning. That’s fine. He is already one of the most discussed prospects in America.
Regardless of where you stand on this issue – whether you’re outraged by college programs recruiting an eighth-grader, or whether you think it’s no big deal – know this: These offers mean nothing.
“They’re not bombarding him with calls,” Kramer said of Machado’s suitors. “They can’t. They’re really not bombarding him with anything. They’re visiting the school, they’ve got some really good players, and all of a sudden they see this kid on film and they say, ‘That’s pretty interesting.’ So you send him an offer. It means nothing. The coaches know this, the player knows this, the family knows this. It’s all part of the game. Loyalty, being there first, the marketing aspect of recruiting – ultimately if he ends up at Alabama in 2020, is Nick Saban going to be there by then? I doubt it. So I think when it comes down to it, we have to view this realistically as just part of the game.”