Tuesday night was a groundbreaking night in the history of this country. No, I'm not referring to the election of an African-American president (technically, a re-election), we had already crossed that off the social bucket list four years ago. Breaking down racial barriers is so 2008.
No, I'm talking about the legalization of weed! That's right, by popular vote the states of Colorado and Washington, in the face of opposition from the federal government and in some cases the powers that be in their own state, have deemed recreational use of the hippie lettuce okay. So assuming that they have the drive and gumption to pull themselves off the couch and put down the Funyons, stoners everywhere can now pick up and move to Colorado or Washington and puff away all day long with no fear of reprisal.
This is a big story socially, but it's an even bigger story for college football recruiting!
The pecking order of the criteria for choosing a school for most kids wanting to play college football has always been some semblance of the following:
1. Preparation for the NFL
2. Quality of girls on campus
3. Party life
(Academics rank somewhere around 116th.)
Legal weed? Well that changes everything. All of a sudden, the seeming dregs of Division I-A football have been instantly morphed into "sell themselves" kind of places. And to be clear, Colorado and Washington house the dregs of college football.
Colorado loses games by an average of more than 30 points a contest. They've won one game all season. The one team the Buffaloes beat? Washington State!
The future has changed immeasurably for these schools.
In an effort to clarify just what caliber of athlete is now in play for the Colorado and Washington schools via the "Sell 'Em On Weed" plan, how about this list -- five players who would have given a verbal on the first day possible to a school in Colorado or Washington if legal recreational marijuana use had been in place long ago:
5. Michael Dyer, Auburn running back One of the top freshman running backs in the country in 2010, Dyer was the thunder to Cam Newton's lightning on that 2010 national championship team. (All right, maybe nobody on that team was a peer of Netwon's; can we go with "Dyer was the sporadic bolts of heat lightning to Newton's Hurricane Katrina."? Is that okay?) In fact, Dyer had the biggest play of the BCS title game, a long run to set up the game winning field goal. He was an All-SEC performer in 2011, but after a violation of team rules before the bowl game, Dyer decided to transfer to Arkansas State when Gus Malzahn (his OC at Auburn) took the reins there. Unfortunately, he never took the field for Arky State, as a March 2012 traffic stop (video below) for speeding also yielded a gun and some of the sweet chronic nectar:
If Dyer had gone to Colorado, he would have at least only had to sit through the gun and speeding part of that cop's droning, boring lecture, and not the marijuana part.
4. Cliff Harris, Oregon defensive back Speaking of that 2010 national championship game, opposite Dyer and the Auburn Tiger offense that day was Oregon consensus All American cornerback Cliff Harris. In December 2011, Harris was driving home after a night out with the fellas (including Duck cornerback Darron Thomas) when he was pulled over. Here is video of that traffic stop, pay particular attention to the 1:00 mark when the officer asks about the marijuana in the car:
"We smoked it all." Yeah, pretty much.
3. Pretty much TCU's whole team 2012 was quite the offseason for weed enthusiasts, but perhaps no place embodied the underground weed life of college football more than Texas Christian University. From ESPN.com on February 16, 2012:
Despite a former TCU player claiming that drug use was widespread on the team, only five players tested positive for marijuana in a Feb. 1 test, a source told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Thursday.
Another 11 players had trace amounts of marijuana in their systems, a quantity that is within the margin of error for the test, the newspaper reported. Marijuana was the only drug detected, and 86 players tested clean, according to the report.
Four players -- junior linebacker Tanner Brock, junior safety Devin Johnson, junior defensive tackle D.J. Yendrey and sophomore offensive tackle Tyler Horn -- were among 17 TCU students arrested on Wednesday in a drug sting.
The players mentioned in the latter part of that story were reportedly selling marijuana (and other goodies) on campus. Yeah, but what Fort Worth calls a drug sting, Colorado now calls free enterprise.
2. Ricky Williams, former Longhorn and NFL running back There's maybe no player more synonymous with marijuana usage than Ricky Williams. Hell, ESPN did an entire 30 for 30 special on his nomadic lifestyle during his time away from the game, time away that he was handed by the league when he failed one too many pee tests:
Ricky eventually returned to the NFL with the Dolphins in 2007 and was surprisingly effective, giving credence to the theory that maybe the best path to preservation for a running back is a two year sabbatical in the woods smoking dope in the middle of his prime.
1. Tyrann Mathieu, LSU playmaker The Honey Badger's marijuana resume is impressive:
- One game suspension in the middle of the 2011 season for use of synthetic weed (and he STILL was a Heisman Trophy finalist!) - Expulsion from the team right before the 2012 season for more use of weed (real and synthetic, I'm guessing) - Last week, arrested at his apartment for possession of numerous bags of weed
Put it this way -- if Buffs coach Jon Embree hasn't already sent Mathieu the application paperwork with everything filled out and a "SIGN HERE" sticky note next to the signature box, then he should be fired on the spot. Actually, he should be fired on the spot anyway.
So there you have it. Imagine the talent influx now staring at the schools in Colorado and Washington. Pretty crazy to think about. And for you blue chip high school stars reading this -- just know that when you schedule your five official visits to Colorado, Colorado State, Washington, Washington State, and Breckenridge Junior College....we know.
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