Wednesday, February 07, 2007

McKnight Believes Bush

I got to thinking today about whether the New Orleans Saints drafting Reggie Bush in 2006 helped USC land the top-ranked running back recruit in 2007, Joe McKnight.

McKnight attends John Curtis H.S. in suburban New Orleans. Presumably, McKnight is a fan of the Saints and their star rookie running back. Today, when McKnight announced his decision, he said his decision to attend USC over LSU and Ole Miss came down to the strength of USC's public relations program, in which McKnight plans to major. However, it wouldn't surprise me if Bush being a Saint influenced McKnight's thinking to some degree.

Apparently, Bush helped USC seal the deal with McKnight. Check out this quote from an Associated Press story on McKnight's announcement:

McKnight said he was not at all worried about the prospect that USC may be penalized because of an investigation of whether Reggie Bush or his parents took improper payments from agents while Bush was playing there.

McKnight said USC coach Pete Carroll set up a conference call so he and [McKnight's coach J.T.] Curtis could talk to Bush and ease their worries that USC might wind up under sanctions.

"We addressed that directly and we were satisfied," Curtis said. He said Carroll told him that USC is not being investigated.

I would love to hear what Bush told them.

Also of note: due to Hurricane Katrina, McKnight started his junior year playing for Evangel Christian (Shreveport, LA), John David Booty's high school.

Update (02/09/2007): USC is looking into whether it broke NCAA rules while recruiting McKnight. Apparently, it is a violation for a former player to telephone a recruit or his relatives or guardian. Carroll, Curtis, and McKnight have all denied that any such call ever took place, saying that McKnight misspoke at his news conference and that McKnight was never on a conference call with Bush.