Hate the hype of National Signing Day

Hate the hype of National Signing Day


Hate the hype of National Signing Day


National Signing Day is Wednesday, and how the college football recruiting gurus love it.

I don’t.

At least not the sight of boosters and media obsessed with the hourly whims of teenagers. Not the bright lights and center stage that seem so early. Not the hyper-hype, which is like chocolate. Too much of it can’t be good for kids.

This is not to deny the day is often interesting, occasionally fascinating, and invariably necessary. There has to be some way for today’s high school algebra student to be on tomorrow’s Alabama depth chart.

And it is not new. The public has been living and dying with recruiting forever. But might the entire exercise have grown too big to be healthy, and too important to be rational? First overinflated in print, then websites and talk shows and television, now Twitter. The evolution of excess.

This just in! Defensive end Chris Jones has had to mask his movements and set up secret meetings with schools, so irate have the messages been from Mississippi and Mississippi State fans who are angry he might be leaning the other way.

Good thing Wednesday is near.

They’re kids. They haven’t even been to their senior proms yet. The fate of an institution should not ride on their signature. But it certainly sounds as if it does.

You can only imagine the rainbow of emotions the coaches go through. In this world of short attention spans and disposable loyalty, yesterday’s oral commitment can be erased faster than a text message. And often is.

This just in! Linebacker Reuben Foster has cut his finalists down to three.

Wait a minute. Didn’t Foster once have the Auburn log tattooed onto his right forearm? Gee, doesn’t that seem like a commitment? But then came the coaching change at Auburn, and he started looking at Alabama and Georgia, too.

Imagine if he chooses Nick Saban. Now playing linebacker for the Crimson Tide, the guy with the Auburn tattoo.

But so the ordeal goes. Weeks spent zigging and zagging, as the fans fixate, the recruit-niks speculate, the talk shows agitate, and the high school kids act like high school kids. The one constant is the smiles on the parents’ faces. Wouldn’t you be happy, if so many people were begging to pay your son’s tuition?

This just in! Defensive end Robert Nkemdiche was able to meet Shaquille O’Neal on his visit to LSU.

Funny, wasn’t Nkemdiche going to Clemson? He was. Then he wasn’t. His brother goes to Mississippi so maybe that is a clue, but Florida is in the mix, too. And who tells Shaq no?

Anyway, ESPNU has announced its lineup for Wednesday, with various 18-year-olds informing the world who they plan on leading to the BCS championship game. An entire day of decisions made, verdicts read and caps put on, one after another. Nkemdiche starts it off at 7:30 a.m.

This just in! Crisis in Texas. Another decommittment.

Here’s the thing. Sometimes what happens on NSD matters, sometimes it doesn’t. On Scout.com, Texas’ haul was ranked 1-3-3-7 the past four years. On Rivals.com, it was 2-3-3-5. A sure powerhouse. On paper, anyway.

How come the Longhorns were playing in the Alamo Bowl and not Sun Life Stadium on Jan. 7?

Tennessee has been ranked in the top 20 in recruiting by nearly every judge the past four years. The Volunteers just went 5-7. California and Auburn have gotten very high marks. Each just went 3-9.

Meanwhile, if you’re talking recruiting rankings, Oregon is never in anyone’s top 10. If you’re talking the polls, the Ducks finished second, fourth and third the past three years.

But hey, the Weather Channel gets it wrong lots of times, too, and people still watch. The phenomenon only grows more torrid each February, with social media now the booster rocket. It is big-time college football in all its many tones; lively, loud — and sometimes overheated.

The letters of intent and fax machines are ready. Prepare for a wave of 18-year-olds saying yes, while adults high-five. Happy National Signing Day.

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