Brian Murphy: From recruiting chaos ... to silence

Football recruits must quickly adjust from being highly coveted to being just another one of many team members.

February 5, 2014 

— For months, many of them, Troy Bacon has been wanted and wooed, called and texted, shown the love and offered opportunities.

College football coaches have tried to convince the 6-foot-4, 280-pound offensive lineman from Oak Hills, Calif., to attend their school.

Reporters from newspapers and TV stations and recruiting websites have called, wanting to know what school was in the lead.

Fans have come calling on Twitter, pleading the case for their favorite schools.

College recruiting carries all sorts of stigmas, but for the players at the center of attention, it is intoxicating.

And why not?

Trips to faraway places. Millionaire coaches coming to your living room to convince you that you're the missing piece or the building block or the next big thing.

"It's been a helluva ride and an awesome experience," Bacon said.

He plans to sign his letter of intent with Boise State early Wednesday before heading to school, where there will be assemblies and photo opportunities for athletes going to the next level.

And then it will be over.

Bacon, and the rest of the Broncos' signing class, will be relatively anonymous members of the program, a group of more than 100 players.

Most freshmen will redshirt, toiling in the shadows. The media attention will go away. Freshmen at Boise State can't talk with the media.

Won't it be a bit sad to leave the center of attention for the fringes of the team?

"Somewhat," said Bacon, one of four players who committed to Boise State before Chris Petersen's departure for Washington.

But Bacon said the experience is one he wouldn't trade.

"I can take this and share with my family some day down the road. It taught me a lot of life lessons," he said. "It taught me integrity and to be honest with a lot of people - even though you don't want to be. It separated you from being a kid to being a man."

Bacon committed to the Broncos on Nov. 17. Petersen left for Washington a few weeks later. Schools swooped in.

"I talked to guys from the West Coast to the East Coast, from north to south. It was cool to see who was out there and what they had to offer," he said.

The Broncos' new staff - and the energy it brought - convinced Bacon that he'd made the right choice all along. He stuck with Boise State, but that doesn't mean it was easy.

"I did me and stayed true to my commitment," Bacon said. "I'm really excited right now. This class is explosive. Just watching some of the other guys, some of their film is just outrageous."

The toughest part for Bacon was calling all of the other coaches who had offered him a scholarship. He said he called 10 to 15. None was harder than his call to Eastern Washington, the first school to offer him a college scholarship.

"I thanked them all for the opportunity. I was happy that they even gave me an opportunity to look and hopefully play at their college. A kid wouldn't do that,'' he said.

The recruiting process is about choosing a college and a football program.

When it works properly — and even when it doesn't — it can and should be about so much more.

Brian Murphy: 377-6444, Twitter: @MurphsTurph

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