Signing Day is Christmas in February for college football coaches and
fans. It's the day high school seniors around the nation sign their
national letters of intent. Those letters bind the prep players to the
college they fax it to, and in return the student-athletes get a
scholarship to that school.
National Signing Day has taken on a life of its own over the last five
years. It used to be an average day where many players announced their
college of choice, and no one paid much attention until fall practice
began. But with the popularity of the internet, National Signing Day is
now a frenzy filled day full of angst and euphoria for coaches and
fans. Internet chat rooms are buzzing, and ratings services add
to the hype by assigning grades to all the teams around the nation.
But why does everyone get so worked up? Outside of the top recruits
around the nation, very few will have a significant impact on their
team this upcoming season. In fact, the impact of this years recruiting
classes won't be known for four to five years. Yes, signing day is
important, but it is far from an exact science, and pinning a teams
fortunes on what some guy in a basement in front of computer says can
be a little ludicrous.
I have seen the Pirates 2006 class ranked any where from 40th to 105th
in the nation. But several players have yet to qualify, and several
players who didn't make the grades last year will join the team this
season if they complete the required course work (which is the point of
college, to learn and get a higher education, just in case anyone
forgot in all the pigskin hype). So who knows how good the class will
be until they put the pads on. No one can predict the future, and
sometimes things don't work out the way everyone planned. Five Pirate
players have elected to transfer from ECU in search of playing time,
including a couple of student-athletes who had seen the field in the
past and had high hopes for the future. It just goes to show, you never
know your grade until the final exam has been taken.
North Carolina's 2006 recruiting class was ranked as high as 25th in
the nation, and they certainly landed the most in-state recruits, but
is that a good thing in a down year talent-wise around the state?
Someone once told me, statistics are like a good bikini, they only
reveal what you want them to. It's hard to claim victory on signing
day. It's kind of like judging figure skating or gymnastics, it's all
subjective. What one person likes, another person dislikes.
The winners are the kids who receive the scholarships, because they
have an opportunity to better themselves as people, and if they become
a great football player and can some day get paid for playing the game,
good for them. But in the mean time they are getting a chance to get a
quality education, and it's up to them to decide if they are winners or