When Morgan State head coach Tyrone Wheatley says he’s going to be blunt, he’s going to be blunt.
The former Michigan star and NFL running back didn’t hold back when asked about how the eligibility backlog would college football and possibly squeeze some high school kids out.
While he admitted that the transfer portal was “bursting at the seams,” due to added eligibility for current college athletes, he said he didn’t feel like the class of 2021 was being shorted. He compared the situation to the housing bubbles of the 2000s.
“At the end of the day, I don’t feel sorry for them. It’s an adjustment,” Wheatley said during MEAC Media day. “And what this adjustment is doing to coaches, is now they are going back and evaluating things with clear eyes. Meaning—do I really need this young man? Is this young man better than the guy that’s on my team?”
The second-year Morgan State head coach pointed out that there are multiple levels at which to play college football, all of which he says recruits have a chance to commit to early. And with junior college prospects looking to find homes as well as transfers from higher levels, space is definitely tight.
“The high school kid is saying he’s been pushed back. It’s not,” he said. “Because you had a chance to commit to schools and sign on the first signing day.”
Tyrone Wheatley watches social media carefully
Morgan State had one high schooler sign his national letter of intent during December. DeShaun Alleyne of Port Saint Lucie, FL is a three-star linebacker headed north to play for MSU. He had more than a dozen FBS offers, including Auburn, Penn State, Nebraska and South Carolina as well as Wheatley’s alma mater— Michigan. It also has a commitment from Duce Taylor, a three-star quarterback from Fort Wayne, Indiana.
But those players are often the exception at the FCS and lower levels as student-athletes wait for FBS or Power Five offers. As he watches via social media, Wheatley has said he has noticed a pattern.
“You see these guys who post on their pages, ‘I got 47 offers. I’m waiting on the next one. What are you waiting on? You can only sign with one school. But you keep posting all these offers, and then schools fill up and then they want to cry about I’m being pushed out.
Wheatley called the current situation a readjustment, particularly with the ratings players are given as college prospects.
“These “stars” are getting out of hand,’ Wheatley said. “A lot of these guys are five stars and they should just be three stars. They’re playing on some really really great HS football teams so they are being over-evaluated. I just think its a re-adjustment. It’s what’s going on in college recruiting. These young men are larger than life before they even take a snap in college.”
The way Tyrone Wheatley sees things, its a humbling and a teaching experience. He said he had family members he had to tell the same school.
“If you have offers from a D2, D3 or NAIA or FCS school and you’re sitting there whining about I’m not getting the chance to play at the top, or the best level — shame on you,” he said. “That’s your fault.”
Morgan State will open the spring season on Feb. 20 at Delaware State.