Signing Day
Is All About Patience and Potential

by Chris Stansbury

National Signing Day is a huge event for college football fans. It is the equivalent of Draft Day in the NFL. Young men who were the big fish in their respective small ponds, now make the jump to the next level where all the fish are the same size and the pond has turned into the ocean.

As Skip Holtz and his staff complete these February signings of the new quarterbacks, running backs and for the most part the elite of North Carolina, it gives hope. But don't be fooled, that hope for the future.

Ask any coach and to a man they will tell you, the optimal situation for a new recruit is to have them practice in the spring, practice in the summer and then red-shirt their freshman year. This gives them the chance to study the game plan, learn how collegiate game speed is very different the high school game speed and of course manage their time between football and the classroom.

There are few rare breeds that sign in February, start camp in August and then actually make an impact in the starting lineup. They are the exception, not the rule.

What the Pirate Nation doesn't want, is to have some upperclassmen get hurt and thus force a would-be red-shirt freshman to have to hold a spot on the roster, more than likely, as a backup on the depth chart. That's a loss all the way around.

So on Wednesday afternoon, when the Purple and Gold faithful hear that ECU signed a "play maker" from Eastern North Carolina like Jonathan Williams or Ty Worthington or "a superstar in the near future" like Daronte McNeil or Linval Joseph, keep it in perspective. 

These young men are being brought in to the Pirate Nation because they have tremendous potential to excel in college football. However, that potential may not come to fruition until 2008 or even 2009.

Just be patient on this National Signing Day and enjoy the fact that despite several injuries to the 2006 ECU Pirates, Skip Holtz and company did manage to red-shirt a large group of newcomers that will be itching to hit the field against Virginia Tech in September.
Chris Stansbury