Decommitments have become an epidemic in high school football, according to CBS/MaxPreps recruiting analyst Tom Lemming.
"It's been going on for 10 years, but there have been a great amount the last three years," Lemming pointed out.
He noted that some players have committed to as many as three or four colleges before settling on one.
"Kids commit early. Then when other schools come after them, it becomes more the rule than the exception. More than half (of yearly commitments) will still visit other schools."
The obvious answer, Lemming says, is "Don't commit early (and still take official visits to other colleges). It's like being engaged, but you want to date others. The great players have no need to commit early, because they have 30 to 60 schools coming after them."
Lemming backed up his beliefs with some current examples as he looked at a list of his Top 100 players
He used John Theus
, his No. 6 overall player and the No. 1 offensive lineman in the country, as a prime example. The 6-foot-6, 301-pound tackle from Bolles (Jacksonville, Fla.)
has committed to the University of Georgia, but he still plans to visit Notre Dame.
"That's sort of a slap in (Georgia coach) Mark Richt's face," Lemming said.Arik Armstead
, No. 27 on the list, has committed to USC but plans to take a trip to Notre Dame. The 6-7, 285-pound offensive/defensive lineman from Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove, Calif.)
has an older brother already playing at Southern Cal.
Lemming said there is "talk" that several other top players may soon start looking around, even though they already have committed.
"The way it looks is that there will be another 100 kids between now and February (who will commit and keep looking)," Lemming predicted, referencing National Signing Day.
Lemming believes the Internet adds fuel to the fire, because players no longer can decommit in secret.
He noted, "Fans get excited about school visits, or one leaves and they get mad."
When a recruit decommits, Lemming says other college coaches have an attitude of "take no prisoners – an attitude of all is fair in love and recruiting. College football has been put to shame, because of all the cheating and all the squabbling over conferences. It's all about money."
Lemming says players need to be guided more strongly.
"They're not getting good advice," he said. "Parents and coaches are afraid. The kids are put on such pedestals that they actually run their parents. Kids see dollar signs down the line. The majority still keep their word, but more and more are taking a step back.
"I blame the parents, high school coach and the college coach who won't honor the commitment. The answer would be for college coaches to have some type of code where they don't go after committed players, but it won't happen."
* Washington (South Bend, Ind.)
wide receiver Gehrig Dieter
will be the special guest during Lemming's Friday show (7 p.m., EST) on the CBS College Sports Network.
The 6-3, 210-pound senior came out of nowhere this fall to set a national record with 437 receiving yards in a single game. He has been slowed down in the past few games, but still has 37 catches for 1,292 yards (34.9 average) and 14 touchdowns.
The Indiana single-season record is 1,834 yards by Tyrone Walker of Cardinal Ritter (Indianapolis) in 2008.
Lemming also will show videos and discuss his Top 10 wide receivers.