The football world is full of incredible stories of people that have done well. It’s full of the underdog making it to the top types of stories where the guy from the wrong side of the tracks, or the guy that wasn’t big enough, or fast enough, or good enough, makes it big. The awesome stories of a guy that is severely injured and fights back to become a football star are great and inspiring. We all love to hear about that one person that overcame the odds and became a star.
Unfortunately, it’s also full of stories about bad people and bad things happening to good people.
Chason Virgil is a freshman Quarterback at Fresno State. But, that wasn’t really his plan.
Last year, Virgil was a senior at West Mesquite High School in Mesquite, Texas which is a suburb of Dallas. Virgil was a slightly undersized Quarterback and he was what they are now calling a Dual Threat. In other words, he was a very athletic Quarterback that can make plays with his feet as well as with his arm. He was indeed a great runner at the Quarterback position.
The ESPN recruiting list for 2015 had Chason Virgil listed as a 6-2, 169 4 star Dual Threat Quarterback and he was number 13 on their list.
He had thrown 35 Touchdown passes as a senior in high school and ran for another 8 Touchdowns. The number of stars given to a high school recruit really doesn’t matter other than to some of us fans. There are star football players that were 5 stars in high school and many that were also unranked completely. But, Chason Virgil was very well thought of as a high school Quarterback prospect by the experts.
Recruiting has changed dramatically over the last few years and colleges are offering this recruits at a younger and younger age. There is a national surge of high school football players planning on graduating at mid term of their senior years of high school and going on to college. That has to hurt the basketball, baseball and track and field teams of their respective schools because many of them are exceptional athletes playing multiple sports. But, by their senior years, they are apparently done with the others and focusing on football.
These youngsters start going to football camps in the summers and there they are viewed and scrutinized by college coaches up close and personal and also by these recruiting services which have them at camps produced by a Nike or an Adidas or one of those other large sponsors.
Chason Virgil was one of those high school kids that hit some of the camps. He was offered a scholarship by Mississippi State, Auburn, Clemson and many others.
Virgil was happy with that and committed to the Mississippi State Bulldogs and head coach Dan Mullens. His plan was to graduate in December and enroll at Mississippi State in January and get a semester of school under his belt while participating in Spring Football with the Bulldog team.
With a few days left before Virgil was to graduate from high school, somebody from Mississippi State called him and said they didn’t have a scholarship for Chason Virgil any more. Plus, they even asked him to grey shirt his first season at Mississippi State. Grey shirting is another way of saying you can still come to our school and you will still get a scholarship, but you have to pay your own way for your first semester at the school.
Virgil had made plans to graduate from West Mesquite and move to Starkville, Mississippi and get to work becoming a Mississippi State student and football player. But, those plans did not include paying his own way.
A few schools had been after Virgil during the recruiting process and when they had heard that he had committed to Mississippi State, those other schools had moved on and found somebody else to commit.
It was very late in the process considering he was an early enrollee.
This is way below unethical. In fact, if I was a coach at Chason Virgil’s high school, I wouldn’t let anyone from Mississippi State ever talk to any of my kids again. I would go on a campaign in the Dallas area with my fellow coaches to eliminate Mississippi State from coming into the area and recruiting any recruits even if they are a 2 star.
I’ve followed recruiting pretty closely for more years than I would like to publicly admit, and I’ve seen a lot of recruits and recruiters go. Dallas, and all of it’s suburbs, is an area that you want to have a strong presence and great connections. Treat the kids in the Dallas area, or the Miami, Florida area, or the Atlanta area like dirt as Mississippi State did to Chason Virgil and it just has to catch up with you at some point.
Wins and losses are important, but you have to remember that football players, or potential players, are still supposed to be college students. They are just kids and human beings and need to be treated like human beings instead of cattle. Meat on the hoof is the old term that comes to mind.
The media seems to have already turned on Dan Mullens and his Quarterback Dak Prescott. When the public perception of Mullens and Mississippi State gets too sour, then his recruiting will have gone in the tank, as well, and probably his career.
Yes, I am aware that they are in the SEC and the media still loves the SEC and kids get pushed to play in that Conference. But, turn off enough high school coaches and maybe even some smart parents of these recruits and eventually it’s going to come back and bite you.
This story does have a happy ending. That is it’s a happy ending if Chason Virgil is happy playing in the San Joaquin Valley of California. I’ve been to Fresno, California and I have been to Starkville, Mississippi and I would much rather live in Fresno, but that’s just me.
Virgil might have preferred playing in the SEC and possibly at a different SEC school, but he never got that opportunity thanks to Dan Mullen.
However, say what you like, Fresno State is down this year. But, Fresno State has put more Quarterbacks in the NFL in the past years than most SEC schools.
Fresno State has a starter at Quarterback in the NFL and very few SEC schools can say that outside of Georgia.
As a true freshman, Virgil has played in 3 games so far and thrown for about 300 yards. He has also run for a little over 50 yards. Remember, he is a dual threat running or passing.
Chason Virgil is now listed at 6-1, 184 and he probably has no future as an NFL Quarterback. Very few high school recruits ever make it to the Big Show in football, basketball or baseball even though people are always in their ears telling them it’s all about the Professional level. Very few of the college players that leave early actually make an impact at the pro level in any sport. Then, they are left with no degree, no money, no employment and no good jobs unless they get lucky.
Dan Mullen and Mississippi State knew that Chason Virgil wouldn’t pay his own way into their school and that was their way of getting rid of him. That was also something that could have been brought to his attention much earlier in the process.
Maybe Mullen feels bad about it and will never do it again. I do not know the man, but if he makes this a habit, he won’t be coaching at the college level much longer.
Or, at least he won’t be recruiting many good players out of Dallas.
As for Chason Virgil, it looks like he has things under control out in California in spite of how an SEC school treated him.