Recruiting – the very act of convincing an 18-year-old to leave home and become part of your family – requires a close bond.
It is easy to tell which coaches recruited which player in the Boise State football offices, special teams coordinator Jeff Choate said, because the players will always stop by to say hello. “It’s like they’re your child kind of. You have that kind of relationship with them,” Choate said. “You get to know these kids, the ins and outs. You have really honest conversations with them.”
But when Smith died, the Broncos’ coaching staff was handcuffed by NCAA rules. Because Smith had not signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) – signing day is in February – Boise State coaches could not comment on Smith.
They could not attend his funeral. They could not send flowers. They could not call his grieving parents or any other family members. “There was nothing the school could do,” said Scott Hobbs, Boise State’s assistant athletic director for compliance.