The UT football team lost another verbal commitment, according to Scout.com, which is reporting Huber Heights Wayne quarterback Javon Harrison reneged and committed to Cincinnati. Harrison becomes the third commit to back out of his pledge, following receiver Zach Challingsworth (Pittsburgh) and defensive back Joshua Jones (Illinois). The class stands at seven commits.
A few thoughts:
-This stings, as Harrison was viewed as a cornerstone in the class. A dual-threat quarterback, he committed in June on an unofficial visit to the campus. He was the quarterback the coaching staff identified as their No. 1 choice --- and they got him. Then they lost him.
-Looking at each de-commit in a vaccuum, none of this is shocking. Jones backed out after receiving an offer from Iowa. He later got an offer from Illinois, committing to the Illini and coach Tim Beckman, whom I presume was recruiting Jones at UT. With few exceptions, UT won't win recruiting battles against mid-tier teams from the Big Ten. Indiana and Purdue? Maybe. But Illinois and Iowa possess things (sizeable stadiums and fan bases, a marquee conference, a national stage) that UT can't. As for Challingsworth, it appears he was waiting for a Pittsburgh offer. Only after committing to UT did he get it. Tough blow for the coaching staff, who reportedly sent Challingsworth 58 letters in one day. As for the latest player to de-commit, Harrison, he might be making a mistake. At UT, he would have had the opportunity to be a four-year starter after a redshirt year. Cincinnati is a good situation, but I'm not sure it's much better, if at all, than UT.
-It's unfair to cast blame on UT's staff. They swung big, delivered, and saw their efforts unravel when programs from BCS conferences trumped their offers. Campbell and his assistants have been dogged in their recruiting efforts, following the lead of Beckman. They've hosted several camps this summer, some at UT and others at satellite sites. A couple staff members traveled to a camp at Pitt in June and were back in Toledo to host a camp that evening. These guys are working. UT will sign a highly-touted class in February, this I'm sure of. If you're getting commitments from players that the big boys like, you're doing something right.
-Fans might wonder if UT will pursue St. John's Jesuit quarterback Brogan Roback to replace Harrison. Don't count on it. The Rockets offered Roback a couple of years ago but, for reasons unknown, backed away. Roback committed to Eastern Michigan this month, but I have a feeling his recruitment isn't over. Just don't expect UT to be the team to swoop in and steal him from EMU.