First Jonny Ragin, then Tanner Shipley. BYU had an admittedly bad weekend on the recruiting scene. And guess what? It's okay. Take a deep breath, look up to the sky, and realize that it is not falling. If the problem was systemic, then there could be room for concern. It's not.
Brandon Gurney, who covers BYU recruiting for the Deseret News tweeted this out, reminding one and all of the number of 2013 recruits who had committed and then decommitted from the program.
BYU decommits in 2013: Weichers, Laufasa, Orphey, Ragin, Shipley, Claudell Louis
BYU decommits in 2013: Weichers, Laufasa, Orphey, Ragin, Shipley, Claudell Louis— Brandon Gurney (@BrandonCGurney) January 28, 2013
@rakoto10 BYU's average star rating of 2.39 this year puts them right inbetween Akron and Eastern Michigan at 78th.— Lance Archibald (@lancewarchibald) January 25, 2013
Something tells me that BYU is going to be better than Akron and Eastern Michigan. Just a hunch.
The top programs in the country get the best recruits. BYU is rarely, if ever, going to be able to land that caliber of player. (And when it does, they transfer. Shout out to Brothers Olson and Heaps. Nothing but love for you.) The BYU experience is something that will remain constant and desirable to those recruits who want it. Sure, it is always disappointing when a kid decommitts, but I'd rather have the recruit go where he wants now than decide he's made a mistake in the future.
I have not seen any evidence that the string of decommitts are in any way tied to a malady inside the program. One of the recruits felt he could not pass up a Cal-Berkeley education; the other was a lifelong Boise State fan who gave in to nostalgia. Not exactly things Bronco Mendenhall can fix.
Does not having a full and complete coaching staff negatively affect recruiting? Probably. But a stable coaching staff, anchored to the future, is vastly more important than assuring a handful of non-elite recruits that BYU is really the place to be. BYU is the one place where, if you are signing because of a single coach in lieu of the entire university and its program, you are bound to have problems.
Some of Bronco Mendenhall's best classes have been the ones who have come to Provo without much fanfare. And with the missionary program adding an extra layer to the personnel conundrums, it will help your sanity to wait until spring and fall camp to try and assess the state of the program. Take the lows of recruiting with the same degree of questioning as you do the highs. Anecdotally, I found the composite 2012 BYU squad to be the most talented in recent memory. The news of the last week will not meaningfully affect the strength of the 2013 roster. (If Ragin or Shipley become all-conference performers, I'll eat the crow.)
Just step back and realize that the program is in a better place now than ever.
All is well in Zion.