My unpopular look at Kater to Cincinnati
There are so many potential athletes, so many teams, and so little that can be said “on the record” by coaches about it, it is almost a lost cause for me.
But, recently, Central Michigan fans have been in an uproar about Montague quarterback Cody Kater switching his commitment from CMU to Cincinnati, jumping the ship with new coach Butch Jones.
Chippewa fans are upset, and I can understand why, but the simple fact is that this is the underbelly of college football.
Recruiting is a non-stop process for coaches and many, if not all, go to extreme lengths to secure the best players, which includes under-cutting the competition.
Kater and wide receiver Montrel Robinson’s decisions to leave CMU and head to Cincinnati are certainly no fault of their own.
Who can blame these kids for wanting to play for the coaching staff that they had been recruited by for the past few years?
Kater and Robinson don’t know what to expect of Dan Enos, but they do of Jones, and it is understandable that they would want to play for the Bearcats given the opportunity.
What really has gotten the CMU fans upset is a quote from Kater that he told WZZM, ABC 13 television:
"The day (Jones) signed his contract (at Cincinnati) he called me at 6 a.m. He told me that he wanted me there and he wanted me to go with him."
Does it hurt that Jones went after Kater and ultimately got him to go to Cincinnati?
But, the reality is that any other college coach would do the same.
Just look at Jones’ mentor, Rich Rodriguez, who just this week took defensive end Jibreel Black from the Bearcats. Black was committed to play at Cincinnati, but once Brian Kelly left for Notre Dame, Rodriguez jumped into recruiting him despite the fact that his good friend Jones was coming into Cincinnati.
It is all part of the game.
When Jones came to CMU, he brought in Antonio Brown, who was originally planning on going to West Virginia, but decided to stick with the guy that recruited him and became a Chippewa.
So, you can be upset and frustrated, but trashing Jones on the matter doesn’t change that this is the reality of college football.
I know many CMU fans that were hopeful that when Enos was hired, that he would bring recruits that were committed to Michigan State here to Mt. Pleasant. Why would that be okay, but what Jones did be such a big deal?
There is also a bit of rumblings among fans that the loss of these recruits is a sign that Enos is not a good head coach. I am not sure how that is a logical thought, but again, this happens at every other program that has coaching changes.
I know since arriving, Enos has been hot on the recruiting trails and doing all he can to maintain the recruiting class and add new pieces to it. It is far too early to make any decisions on whether he is the right man for the job or that Dave Heeke picked the wrong guy.
Also, let’s not anoint Kater the next Dan LeFevour.
Sure, Kater was a highly-touted recruit by recruiting websites, but that doesn’t make him a sure thing. He may never make it at Cincinnati and may have never made it here. There are some good young quarterbacks at CMU, and Kater would have his hands full moving up the depth chart. Let’s remember that LeFevour himself was not highly recognized by recruiting sites, but he turned out to be pretty special, yet a player like De’Onte Burnam was a three-star recruit, and he never amounted to much of anything.
I know my take on this whole situation may not be popular and that many fans will refer to me as a Butch Jones “slappy”, which is their right.
Jones gave me the opportunity to see the game from a new perspective and see how the machine of college football works, from all aspects, including recruiting. I am greatly appreciative for getting that opportunity, but in my reporting, I have always been fair. When the Chippewas played bad, I acknowledged it. When they played well, I acknowledged that.
It is easy as a fan (because I am guilty of it with the Lions) to see what happens on the field for three hours and make judgments on whether a coach is doing the right thing, but there is so much more to it. Most fans make quick, emotional reactions to everything relating to their program. This situation is no different.
Fans wanted Kater as a Chippewa, they are upset, and they want to blame Jones for what happened and they are still upset he left for Cincinnati carrying the same message he had when he was here.
I get that.
But, what you need to understand is that it is no different anywhere else and had CMU taken a coach from another school, his message would be the same as it was at the previous school. It is the way of the world.
If Kater doesn’t want to play in Mt. Pleasant, so be it. Let Enos find his guys that want to play his system and let’s see what develops.
Last time I checked, the football program wasn’t built on one player or coach, and it won’t be any time soon.