When he was the head coach of an SEC West football team, Matt Luke’s most important role was recruiting. Despite taking over at a time when the football program was saddled with NCAA sanctions, namely the loss of scholarships and a two-year bowl ban, Luke made ends meet on the recruiting trail, signing consecutive top-25 classes.
Following the Sunday evening news of Luke’s firing, the status of the future recruits’ commitments is unclear. While no recruits have decommitted, it wouldn’t be extraordinary for them to either re-open their recruitment or decommit entirely in the coming days.
The head coach is often the key figure in selling potential recruits on a program’s vision, and a sudden departure like Luke’s will undoubtedly jeopardize upcoming classes.
Before he was fired, Luke’s 2020 recruiting class was ranked No. 23 in the country and 10th in the SEC. Luke was fired just 18 days before the early signing period opens, and whoever the university hires as his replacement will face a tough task in assuring recruits that a change in leadership won’t affect their status on the team.
On Twitter, recruits from the class of 2020 and beyond weighed in on the university’s decision, with most voicing their displeasure with the firing, but also their support for Luke.
De’Rickey Wright, three-star athlete and the player ranked 18th in Alabama tweeted an emoji of a broken heart.
Kris Abrams-Draine, three-star wide receiver and 21st-ranked player in Alabama tweeted: “WOWWWW” and retweeted a tweet from Ole Miss quarterback Brice Johnson that said, “Coach Luke was a good Coach..Ppl didn’t trust the process.”
Austin Keys, three-star linebacker and 20th-ranked player in Mississippi tweeted, “man this can’t be true…”
Lakevias Daniel, three-star cornerback and 32nd-ranked junior college player in the country, tweeted: “Not Matt Luke mane (broken heart emoji),” and “Mind in a million pieces…”
DeSanto Rollins, three-star defensive tackle and 41st-ranked player in Louisiana retweeted both Austin Keys’ and Lakevias Daniel’s tweets.