Over the course of the last 11 months, I've had some interesting opportunities to meet and interview some truly remarkable people through my Internet radio show/podcast "Vol Talk Radio." On Monday night, I had the opportunity to interview current Tennessee verbal commitment Justin King, a three-star athlete from Dunwoody, GA.
As with many of my guests, King was the epitome of class, and he'll be a fine addition to Derek Dooley's squad when he takes the field in 2012. Justin is an engaging kid with a clear love for the University of Tennessee, which is certainly to be expected from an incoming commitment.
However, King particularly struck a chord with me when he mentioned his value on the actual meaning of the word commitment. Tennessee currently has 22 "commitments", but how many kids take the meaning of that pledge to heart?
Too often in this day and age you see kids who seem to lack a fundamental understanding of what exactly a commitment means, and specifically the societal value of someone who honors such things. Granted, it's not all the kids' fault. They're young, and it's certainly reasonable and understandable that when circumstances change, they're decisions are likely to be influenced.
Yet, there are a large segment of prospects out there who make a show of being "committed", and then mention that they have the full intent to continue looking around.
Nobody is saying that it's wrong for a recruit to explore the full extent of his options, but the bottom line is that if they're not ready to take the plunge, they shouldn't be committed because they're NOT committed by definition! 16, 17, and 18-year old kids make mistakes all the time, that's not the issue. That being said, learning the importance of honoring your word at an early age certainly has it's benefits.
Call me naive (it won't be the first time), but it's nice to see a kid who understands that. And for King, it's crystal clear.
"I signed up for the Vol For Life program, and I'm a Vol For Life. I'm not changing my mind, and my word is to Tennessee." King said on Monday. "My dad says when you commit somewhere you can't go back on your promise..... and I'm a (man) of my word."
Now I understand, that things can change in an instant in college football and that forces these kids to re-evaluate their position, but this is a kid who gets it. Despite what you may see on TV, with professional athletes leveraging themselves for better contracts, there is something to be said for someone who wants to do the honorable thing.
The Internet has made stars out of these kids, and we're starting to see the negative impact it can have on these impressionable young minds, but every once in awhile you still get to see the positive side of the process.
Justin King is living out his dream and going about it the right way, and as Tennessee fans, you should be ecstatic. Who wouldn't be happy that their school was fit for a King?