**Recruiting Horror Stories™ are posted every Tuesday to provide athletes’ first-hand experiences of what can go wrong during the recruiting process.
Football is one of the great integrators in America. People from all races, creeds, and beliefs are brought together for the love of the game. This leads a person to believe if you see and interact with a variety of people every day, you’re bound to build comradery with them, regardless of your differences. So when people still show prejudice, despite being around football their entire life, it is exceptionally disappointing.
Deshaun Harvey is a Division I defensive back at the University of San Diego, where he is majoring in Business Administration. In high school, he earned 1st-team all CIF honors (2017) and was a star athlete on both sides of the football field. A reputation like this earned him several offers from Division I and the Ivy schools. As his recruiting heated up, he began talking with coaches from schools all over the nation. He was grateful to have so many programs interested in him, but knew he wanted to stay close to home.
Growing up in Long Beach, California, he loved the culture of Southern California. He was close with his family and knew this was where he wanted to be. So, when a big school close to his home offered him, it was a dream come true. Before really getting to know the staff or the program itself, he was thinking about committing: “It was just my best option at the time.”
Related: School Ratings
Everything Isn’t as Good as It Seems
Talking to other players about his offer, he was surprised at their reactions. They asked who was the coach who recruited and offered him, and all had similar stories to tell upon learning who it was. According to them, this coach was someone incredibly out of touch and was not somebody they wanted to play for. But still, Deshaun took a visit to the school.
The school itself was perfect. He fit right in with the people, knew many students at the school already, and he kept thinking about how close to home it was. But upon formally meeting the coach, it became clear why no one else wanted to play there.
This coach (a white man) made sure to insert the topic of race into everything. When touring the campus, he made sure to say that Deshaun would feel right at home because there is a large black population on campus. At dinner, they ate soul food, and the coach ranted about how black and white people prepare their food differently. “I thought it was funny at first, but he just kept bringing it up and that’s where things became weird,” Deshaun told us.
Related: Coach Ratings
The Final Straw
It was when the coach began to talk about gangs and insinuated that Deshaun might bring some of that culture with him to the school that he was sure he didn’t want to play there. This coach was effective in placing racial overtones into everything and was probably so out-of-touch that he didn’t even realize he was doing so.
Intentional or not, such behavior has no place in or around the game of football. Even if their options are limited, a player should always turn away from coaches like this because no game is worth more than someone’s dignity. Deshaun maintained this principle and today plays at University of San Diego, a school that he says he feels welcomed at and is surrounded by a community that supports him. His story shows that despite bumps in the road during a recruiting process, sticking to your gut will help you make everything work out in the end.
Related school rating: University of San Diego