When a good high school football player tells his coach, family, friends and even reporters that he’s been offered a scholarship by a Power 5 school, it’s not hard to understand how people can be initially fooled.
Hundreds of offers go out every week and it’s impossible to immediately verify if every one of those offers is legitimate.
When a case like this happens, it’s usually resolved quickly. It’s sad and embarrassing for everyone involved but it’s understandable.
That’s different than the story involving Blake Carrienger. That’s because Blake doesn’t exist. Some students decided to make a Twitter account for the 6-foot-6, 315-pound offensive tackle from Grace Christian in Knoxville, Tenn., in which he claimed offers from Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.
Somebody from Rivals, perhaps a low-level employee or intern, saw the account and immediately designated the fake player a 3-star recruit.
Certainly, any player receiving interest from those schools would warrant being at least a 3-star.
The problem is that the fake Twitter account didn’t include even a single highlight video. So, there’s no way to say the player being highlighted was a legitimate recruit, even if his name and offers were fictitious.
The way to avoid being fooled by this sort of scam is to listen to reporters on the ground. WNSP wouldn’t have reported these alleged offered coming in for a local player because we would have seen the team play and known there was no such player. The same goes for Ben Thomas, who does such a fantastic job at al.com and on WNSP’s Prep Spotlight. Ben would have called the high school coach and asked questions. The coach, obviously, would have immediately put an end to the story.
Everybody in every profession makes mistakes. In this case, the mistake came because elementary steps that would have been made by solid local reporters on the scene were not taken. That’s a good lesson for all of us to remember the next time we’re looking for dependable news.
For Threaded Fasteners, I’m Randy Kennedy with Nuts and Bolts of the Game.