This column is dedicated to all of the Class of 2008 recruits who have already made a verbal commitment to their college of choice and intend to live up to their word tomorrow on National Letter of Intent Day.

I applaud your integrity. I applaud your personal resolve and ability to withstand the intense pressure recruiters have heaped upon you to change your mind and break your commitment during the past few months.

Your decision to live up to your word now with this major life decision will be a source of pride to you for the rest of your life. Keeping your word now reflects the type of man you will probably be someday in the future.

Undoubtedly, other programs are still pursuing you because they operate on the premise that high school athletes are not mature enough to make a commitment and stick to it.

Isn’t it ironic how these same coaches expect their recruits to live up to their verbal commitments, and yet they think it’s alright for you to act as if your word meant nothing to anyone else but them?

Your word is supposed to mean everything when you make a commitment. The football program you committed to has spent tens of thousands of dollars and thousands of man-hours trying to assemble the best group of student athletes to represent their program for the next several years.

When you don’t live up to your word, you disrupt that program in more ways than you think. They passed on other qualified players at your position when you made your verbal commitment, making it virtually impossible for them to go back in the last weeks or days before NLI Day to fill the void you created.

If you have committed to a program, think about what it says about you when you keep your word. Think about what the coaches who want you to break your commitment are really saying about you as a person. They don’t care if they are urging you to be deceitful. They are telling you they care more about their program than they do about you being a man of your word.

Sure, there are a few legitimate reasons for breaking a verbal commitment, and certainly a change in the coaching staff is one of them. But, those are rare.

Hopefully, the number of recruits who renege on their verbal commitments tomorrow will comprise a very small group. Not only would it be a positive reflection on the Class of 2008, it would also help a lot of college football fans across the nation sleep easier tomorrow night.