Tag Archives: National Signing Day

National Signing Day Isn’t Worth The Hype

Every sport has basically three major events that all fans celebrate. The first is the first game of the season for obvious reasons. The second is the championship game, even if your team isn’t playing in it. The third is the draft with the exception of college sports. The players get a little choicer in where they get to go, so instead of Draft Day, we have National Signing Day.

And I hate it.

I hate everything about it.

High school kids are followed and filmed for ESPN and other sports outlets, all just waiting to see what school they’re going to declare for. These are kids that have been told they’re special their whole lives and now they get a TV special so they can put on a hat. No wonder athletes think they can get away with anything but that’s another discussion.

Now I’m not some old curmudgeon that sits on his porch, yelling at kids to get off his lawn (usually). There’s some reason to why I hate Signing Day. I hate it because we’re celebrating and exalting kids as gods and future gods despite the fact that they have yet to achieve anything yet. Playing in high school is different than playing in college. For example, I’m not sure if my high school team actually cut players so you’re not necessarily playing with the cream of the crop. John Doe could be churning out thousand yard seasons but doing it against kids that will never see the football field again after high school. For all we know, these kids are going to turn out to be giant busts.

So let’s find out.

What I’ve done is taken the top five recruits from 2010 to 2013 and taken a good look at what they turned into. Sometimes success can be debated so the only fair way I could think to qualify how good each player was is their NFL draft position. If you’re a really good player, you should make it to the pros, right? I’ve also gathered some stats from their best years to give us an idea of how good each player was.

Just to save us all some time, all player statistics were found at Sports Reference and recruiting class rankings were found at ESPN. Let’s get started.

2010

Player School Drafted? Best Season
Ronald Powell Florida 5th round 2011: 9 TFL, 6 sacks
Jackson Jeffcoat Texas Undrafted 2013: 19.5 TFL, 13 sacks
Dominique Easley Florida 1st round 2012: 8.5 TFL, 4 sacks
Jordan Hicks Texas 3rd round 2014: 13 TFL, 3.5 sacks
Michael Dyer Auburn Undrafted 2011: 1242 yards, 10 TD

I won’t lie to you, I thought I’d pretty much already proven my case when I pulled up this year. Dominique Easley, the only first round pick despite missing most of his senior season, is the only name on there that I actually knew at first glance. Jackson Jeffcoat actually was a pretty good player in my opinion, though. He did finish with 26 career sacks and was the Big in 2013. Ultimately, only three of five were drafted and only one in the first round. Not a good start so far. If you’re getting your own TV segment on National Signing Day, you’d better be better than this.

2011

Player School Drafted? Best Season
Jadeveon Clowney South Carolina 1st round 2012: 23.5 TFL, 13 sacks
Anthony Johnson LSU Undrafted 2013: 9 TFL, 3 sacks
Cyrus Kouandjio Alabama 2nd round No data
Isaiah Crowell Georgia Undrafted 2013: 1121 yards, 15 TD at Alabama State
Karlos Williams Florida State 5th round 2013: 730 yards, 11 TD

Ok, fair enough.

Jadeveon Clowney was the number one recruit in the country and was drafted first overall by the Texans in 2014. I’ll always remember him for nearly killing a Michigan running back and it’s even better when spliced with a professional wrestling call.

Sports Reference didn’t provide any data for the other high round pick, Kouandjio, due to him being an offensive lineman. Not a lot of stats kept for them but he played at Alabama and was drafted in the second round so he was probably pretty good.

Interestingly enough, we’ve got two more undrafted players. Crowell did eventually find his way to the NFL but still, not drafted most likely because his production was at Alabama State instead of Georgia. Either way, that’s still two first round picks versus four undrafted players.

2012

Player School Drafted? Best Season
Mario Edwards Florida State 2nd round 2014: 11 TFL, 3 sacks
Johnathan Gray Texas Undrafted 2014: 636 yards, 7 TD
Dorial Green-Beckham Missouri 2nd round 2013: 833 yards, 12 TD
Noah Spence Ohio State 2nd round 2013: 14 TFL, 7.5 sacks
Keith Marshall Georgia 7th round 2012: 759 yards, 8 TD

Collectively, 2013 might actually be the best year so far. Three second round picks and a seventh isn’t too shabby. Johnathan Gray is the one unfortunate standout and I do actually mean unfortunate. Gray tore his right Achilles tendon while preparing for the 2016 NFL draft after tearing his left in 2013. I know I’m trying to prove a point but I’m willing to give him a pass.

Green-Beckham was the sixth receiver taken in a wide receiver heavy draft but when you’re the best receiver in your class, you shouldn’t be drafted on the second day. This class is better but still not what you’d normally expect from top recruits.

2013

Player School Drafted? Best Season
Robert Nkemdiche Ole Miss 1st round 2015: 7 TFL, 3 sacks
Carl Lawson Auburn Still in school 2016: 14 TFL, 9.5 sacks
Vernon Hargreaves III Florida 1st round 2015: 4 interceptions
Mackensie Alexander Clemson 2nd round 2015: 23 tackles, 2 TFL
Laremy Tunsil Ole Miss 1st round Offensive lineman

 

Well if any class is going to put my hate to the test, it’s this class from 2013. Carl Lawson can be considered a wash since he’s still in school but isn’t projected to be in the first round of the 2017 draft. Even if Lawson goes in the second, or even slips to the third round, this is what we’d expect. Here is a group of players that lived up to the hype that they got before they even arrived on campus.

So what did we learn?

That’s five players drafted in the first round of the NFL draft in four seasons. It’s also five players undrafted and three taken in the fifth round or later. Weigh that against five players in the second round and half of the top five recruits in these four years turned out pretty good. You can say that’s not bad but it should be better.

Keep this in mind next February when you’re getting all hyped up for your school’s big recruit on National Signing Day. Maybe they’ll be the next superstar but there’s almost a 50% chance they’ll just be kind of average. Guys like Ndamukong SuhLamar Jackson, and Dede Westbrook were “merely” four-star recruits and Marcus Mariota was a three-star.

So maybe just reign it in a little until they’re on the field and remember to appreciate those guys without the fanfare too.

E-mail Tim at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Tbach84.

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Auburn – Tiger Bites: 2017 National Signing Day Hangover

National Signing Day lies behind us. The Super Bowl lies before us. Pitchers and catchers report later this month to signal the beginning of a new major league baseball season.

And yet, it is seemingly a time of unease, or purgatory if you will, in The Deep South. We love our college football down here, and we would be perfectly happy if we could immerse ourselves in it 365 days a year.

Well, we kind of do, don’t we?

Hardly a day rolls by without me asking someone a question about college football or someone asking me a question about our second “religion.”

The Auburn fan base did get excited about Bruce Pearl’s 2016-17 edition of its basketball team prior to SEC play. The Tiger round ballers posted a 10-2 record with big wins over Oklahoma, Texas Tech, UAB, and UConn; but since league play began they have lost three SEC home games and it appears that “wait till next year” will continue to be the mantra in that sport.

But what about our beloved football? I’m glad you asked that. Or did you? Well, whether you did or didn’t, here it is. A few Auburn football tidbits to whet your appetite for the blessed coming of the 2017 season.

Auburn, once again, garnered a top ten class under Gus Malzahn and his minions. Wesley Sinor, of AL.com gives a brief summation of that.

Markaviest “Big Cat” Bryant was a huge late get for the Tigers, and Benjamin Wolk, of SEC Country, fills us in on that story.

I think this is a very good class for Auburn. It truly appears to have met its most pressing needs and names like Stidham, Askew, and Bryant aid in giving the group of future Auburn Tigers a heady quality.

2017 is put up or shut up time and I am quite comfortable in coming down on the “put up” side of things. The defense could be even better that the 2016 aggregation and the, about to be, re-tooled offense should light it up.

What about that offense? Chip Lindsey has been hired as the new offensive coordinator on the Plains. Malzahn has, purportedly, completely handed over those reins to him. Auburntigers.com has a word on that development.

And, it’s not too early to peek at what is going on in the way of the next recruiting class. Recruiting never ceases and the 2018 class is already taking shape. We, again, turn to SEC Country for pertinent news on that front.

Now, back to 2017 and a look at the schedule for this pivotal season.

Sept. 2: Georgia Southern

Sept. 9: at Clemson

Sept. 16: Mercer

Sept. 23: at Missouri

Sept. 30: Mississippi State

Oct. 7: Ole Miss

Oct. 14: at LSU

Oct. 21: at Arkansas

Oct. 28: Open

Nov. 4: at Texas A&M

Nov. 11: Georgia

Nov. 18: ULM

Nov. 25: Alabama

This schedule sets up most favorably for the 2017 Tigers. They should win the opener with Georgia Southern. Clemson will, obviously, be a tough game, but those Tigers lost a lot off the 2016 National Championship squad. Most notably, Deshaun Watson. That is a very winnable game.

Mercer, Missouri, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss. M, M, M, M. And three of those games are at home. It certainly is not beyond the realm of possibility that Auburn could be 6-0 when they take to the road for a, potentially, monstrous game with LSU.

At Arky? Another very winnable one.

Next? Auburn is 2-0 in Aggie Land.

And then? Amen Corner, with both Georgia and Alabama at home, punctuated by a whipping of LA-Monroe.

On Monday, March 20th, the Spring Equinox will occur at 6:28 AM. And with it, hope and resurrection.

“The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades!”

E-mail Bird at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Autull.

Two Losers and Two Winners from National Signing Day

Well, that’s all she wrote, folks. Another National Signing Day has come and gone, so now there is only one thing left to do: judge the programs commitment hauls before the players even take the field. We will be taking a look at the two biggest respective winners and losers from NSD, and what the future may hold for each.

Loser: The Texas Longhorns

What a start to the Tom Herman era at UT, huh? The Longhorns found themselves outside the top 10 in the 24/7 rankings for the first time since 2014. However, signing day was much worse than that. Texas wound up finishing ranked No. 26, far from where the boosters hope the team to be under the coach they fought so hard to get. Texas lost out on several top targets on NSD, including 5 star K’Lavon Chaisson amongst others. This is a tough start for the Herman era, one not too unfamiliar for Texas fans, as they went through a similar experience with Charlie Strong.

 Winner: The Florida Gators

The Gators, as little as a week ago, were ranked No. 31 in 24/7 Sports‘ recruitment ranking. However, the man who “cannot close”, Jim McElwain, shocked everybody by running the table of Signing Day. The Gators held on to the players that had been leaning its way, like top recruit Tedarrell Slaton, but also had some surprising landings as well. Brian Edwards decision to attend Florida over Miami of Florida wasn’t the biggest news of the day, but it was a player the staff was happily surprised to have fall their way. However, the biggest shock (at least in my mind) of National Signing Day came around 3:30 eastern, when it was announced that James Robinson out of Lakeland, Florida would be signing with the Gators. Robinson recently had his dreams seemingly derailed after an “incident” during his official visit to Ohio State caused many teams, including the Gators to rescind their scholarship offers. Even moments before the signing was announced it seemed as if Robinson would have to wait to sign (and most likely with a smaller school), but McElwain pulled a rabbit out of his hat by somehow convincing the administration to take a chance on Robinson. Florida was by far the biggest riser on National Signing Day.

Loser: Jarez Parks

You hate seeing this happen, and it seems to every year. A young recruit announces his signing only to have his “dream school” tell him that he either doesn’t have a scholarship offer or that they don’t have the space for him. This year’s train wreck was especially hard to watch. Parks, through an elaborate video, filmed in Paris, that he put on twitter, announced his signing to Alabama fairly early in the day. However, turned out that the Crimson Tide didn’t have the “space” for the top 60 prospect, so he was forced to go in front of his school and, instead of signing his letter of intent, tell everyone that his decision was being delayed. It hurt to watch. Parks ended up signing as a grayshirt with ‘Bama, but to see a day that should be the best of someone’s life fall apart like it did for Parks is terrible.

Winner: Kobe Buffalomeat

The biggest signing of the day went to Illinois State. That’s right, I said Illinois State, an FCS team. However, it was unsurprising to see why it was the best signing of the day, as the recruit they got was named Kobe Buffalomeat. Social media (namely Twittergot in on the action, and by the end of the day the commitment had shaken the college football world. Eat your heart out, Hingle McCringleberry.

Email Cooper at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @uf_goetz.
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Who Will be the 2017 National Signing Day Diamonds in the Rough?

It’s all about the stars, baby! It’s all about those 4 and 5-star future All-Americans who will catapult your favorite college football team to a national championship. Collecting a stable of primetime players may be easy for coaches like Urban Meyer and Nick Saban but that kind of success on the recruiting trail just isn’t the reality of the situation for the majority of coaches. If your team isn’t considered to be a football blue-blood, success is going to be a process that is built upon 2 and 3-star recruits who will need time to be developed.

But success can be achieved with these so-called “diamonds in the rough.” It’s not an easy path to success, but it can and has been done. Rivals and 247 don’t have crystal balls that will clue us into who these diamonds in the rough will be. Even the most experienced coaching staffs can’t predict which of their less heralded recruits will lead their teams to divisional and conference championships.

With today being National Signing Day, let’s take a look back and some 2 and 3-star recruits from the past who proved to have significant impacts on the field.

Marcus Mariota was barely recruited before signing with Oregon. He was a 3-star recruit with two scholarship offers. Oregon and Memphis. That was it. All Mariota did was lead Oregon to an appearance in the 2015 National Championship game and he won the 2014 Heisman Trophy. Not bad for a recruit who struggled to receive offers.

I can’t imagine Michigan State fans were waiting with eager anticipation for the day a 2-star running back recruit with offers from Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, and Marshall would step on the field for them. All Le’Veon Bell did in his Spartan career was rush for 3,346 yards and 33 touchdowns. In his junior season, before leaving early for the NFL, Bell rushed for 1,793 yards and 12 touchdowns. He proved to be more talented than a 2-star recruit with mid-major offers.

Missouri’s Charles Harris makes Bell look like a highly sought after recruit. Harris excelled on the high school basketball court and had barely played any football prior to Missouri offering him a scholarship. His options were Northern Iowa, Missouri Western and Pittsburg State. In his three-year career, Harris recorded 18 sacks, 34.5 tackles-for-loss and forced 5 fumbles.

Jordy Nelson committed to Kansas State as a 2-star safety prospect. His options were Kansas State and Kansas but even those weren’t legitimate options. Neither coaching staff was willing to provide a scholarship offer to Nelson so he attended Kansas State as a walk-on. Nelson holds the Kansas State record for most receiving yards in a single season and is 2nd all-time in career receiving yardage. Not bad for a high school player that nobody wanted.

Gaines Adams was a 3-star tight end recruit who chose Clemson over Michigan State, North Carolina, Virginia, and Virginia Tech. Compared to the others on this list, Adams offer list made him look like a blue-chip recruit. Not only was he not a blue-chip recruit, tight end wasn’t even his ultimate position. Adams became a first team All-American and ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2006.

As fans, we like to get all worked up over National Signing Day. How many 4 and 5-star recruits has our team collected? Which kids pulled a signing day surprise and left our team at the alter? Which players did our team’s coaching staff manage to flip? It can be an entertaining soap opera to follow, but none of us have a clue as to how the story will unfold.

My advice to you is this – Have fun with recruiting, but don’t become so invested in it that a signing class ruins your day. None of us will know the verifiable quality of this recruiting class for another few years. Enjoy the ride, because who knows, maybe your team has a diamond-in-the-rough buried in this recruiting class.

E-mail Seth at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom.

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Signing Day Expectations for the Longhorns

The Charlie Strong era didn’t bring much success or excitement on the field, but he did make a lot of positive noise on signing day during his tenure. However, I’ve said before that Tom Herman is not in a position to have a great recruiting class for 2017, but it doesn’t mean he won’t be successful on the field in 2017 or beyond.

I never thought this class would crack the top 20 nationally, and I would still be surprised if it happened. But that doesn’t mean this won’t be a solid class.

Texas stole the headlines the last couple years by having handfuls of “silent commitments” just waiting to announce to the Longhorns on signing day. There aren’t many indications of that possibly happening this year, so this is what we know:

Texas currently has 15 players committed to the 2017 class. Realistically, there are only six other players they are targeting with a chance of signing with the Longhorns. If they happen to land all of them, I think they will have a top-20 class. But that’s not going to happen, in my opinion.

The biggest name fans need to be watching for is K’Lavon Chaisson. He’s a monster defensive end who will be choosing between Texas and LSU on signing day. He’s the best target remaining for Texas and would fill a position of need immediately. My gut is he will sign with Texas, but it’s a long 48 hours and anything can happen between now and then.

Of the handful or so of targets outside of Chaisson, I’m expecting Jordan Pouncey, Sam Cosmi, Stephan Zabie and Ryan Johnson to sign with Texas on national signing day. Each of these players recently took official visits to Texas recently, so there’s a good sense that these guys will sign with the Longhorns.

Out of those names, there aren’t really any that will get national attention. They are solid high school players, but most will require a good amount of developing and won’t contribute right away.

So since Chaisson is really the only player who could put the Longhorns on the map on signing day, let’s focus more on the currently committed players in the class who could make an impact immediately.

Sam Ehlinger is a name most Texas fans have heard of. He was the star quarterback just down the road at Westlake High School and has already enrolled at Texas. He’s a name to watch as being the quarterback of the future, but if he plays this year, it will mean something went terribly wrong with the current quarterback situation. Anything is possible if you’ve followed this team for the last several years.

Gary Johnson recently committed to Texas over dozens of schools as the third-ranked junior college player in the country. He plays inside linebacker, which is a critical need for the Longhorns. Malik Jefferson has occupied that spot over the last two years, but it isn’t his natural position. Johnson should be able to come in and contribute right away, meaning Jefferson can play his natural spot at outside linebacker and rush the quarterback more.

Taquon Graham is another guy Texas needs to hold onto. Oklahoma and TCU are also in the mix for the current Texas commit, and it would be tough losing him on signing day. Graham is another defensive end who could play right away and give the defense some quality depth.

Finally, Toneil Carter is a running back who has the speed and agility to fit in Herman’s offense. However, he could also benefit from a redshirt year, depending on if Kirk Johnson (current Texas running back) can stay healthy.

For the most part, this recruiting class for Texas is going to have time to develop. There might be a handful of players from the class who play in 2017, while the rest will redshirt.

This is just a testament to the recruiting efforts of Charlie Strong, since most of the pieces are in place for experienced players on the two-deep depth chart. If more than a handful of the players in this class play meaningful snaps, then I would expect the season to be another disaster due to injuries or players underachieving.

So to recap: Texas isn’t going to make a lot of noise on Wednesday, and that’s ok. If you hear K’Lavon Chaisson call the Longhorns out on TV and put on the burnt orange hat, then the recruiting class should be considered a success, considering the other circumstances around the program now.

Don’t read too much about Herman’s inability to recruit, which will likely come out somewhere, because he’s already paving the way for a stellar 2018 class.

E-mail Chase at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @chaseholik88.

Photo: Wikimedia

Is It Possible to Repair a Ruptured Recruiting System?

Recruiting high school kids to play college football has always been a maddening, vile, cut-throat business. I use the word “business”, intentionally, as people often throw the word around, loosely, when attempting to justify an action or transaction, that blurs the boundaries of integrity.

How many times have you, or I, heard some say, “Well, it’s business.” Or they might pronounce the word “bidness”, as if its mispronunciation somehow lightens their burden of responsibility. It could be that they’re not overly astute in grammatical matters. Whatever, if an action or transaction is less than savory, then it “ain’t” right.

To hell with ethics and grammar, right? We’re doing “bidness.” And folks, recruiting is big “bidness.”

So, what in the world can be done to sanitize the, too often, seamier side of recruiting?

Andy Staples, senior writer at Sports Illustrated, spoke to a few coaches from four conferences who were meeting in Phoenix, a few days ago, about the matter.

I am of the opinion that some of what these coaches had to say, when weighing in on the ins and outs of recruiting, makes good sense. Much of it, probably, makes too much sense considering the logic-defying decisions that have, sometimes, made their way forth from NCAA and conference gatherings.

The satellite camp hot potato now has a temporary “solution.” It will, undoubtedly be tweaked and re-tweaked in the months and years to come. Will sanity or insanity prevail? Most likely it will be a little of both. There are coaches, like Patterson and Rodriguez who appear to be moving in the direction of a fair and enlightened approach to all of this madness.

Did I just use the terms fair and enlightened in discussing college football recruiting? Is that even a remote possibility? It could be if coaches truly have the very best interests of the “student-athlete” in mind, and not pushing the envelope, living in gray areas, getting an edge and, sometimes, but sadly, winning at all costs.

Back to Patterson and Rodriguez. The TCU coach has thoughtful, rational ideas like rules that propose a specific number of days that coaches could work camps that take place on their own campuses or in another location.

Rodriguez comes with a solution that is far more radical and I find it a swimmingly good one. Eliminate National Signing Day! Say what?

When one begins to milk sacred cows and the baggage that they udder, one is treading in treacherous territory.

Now people, consider that we gone from one such cow, which was the antiquated bowl system that patriarchs such as Paul “Bear” Bryant and Bob Devaney, to name a couple, often dominated, to the BCS to the College Football Playoff.

It can happen.

But here’s the rub, the Almighty Dollar. And with “In God We Trust” remaining proudly emblazoned on said dollar, it reigns supreme. It is in Ben Franklin that we trust and if anyone tells you any differently, they are deluded.

Follow the money. That’s what makes this world, and the world of college football, go round.

The bottom line is the bottom line.

Cars, houses, prostitutes, meals, bag men, and hundred-dollar handshakes. These things, and other dubious practices, to whatever degree, have been a part of college football recruiting for as long as there has been college football recruiting.

Then you come back to ridiculous coaches salaries, massive stadiums to fill, and ticket prices that continue to spiral out of control.

Houston, we have a problem.

I, for one, have more questions than answers about all of this, and there are answers.

But…

Who is willing to sit down and, honestly and evenhandedly, make the hard decisions that could provide some relief to a system that is, often, bloated, bigoted, and blind?

Is it possible?

Charlie Strong Wins National Signing Day

Wow! Did that just happen?

That’s what Texas Longhorns fans were saying for about 24 hours starting on the Tuesday before National Signing Day. Texas was sitting at 15 total commitments and ranked no higher than #30 in any of the recruiting rankings when the day started on Tuesday.

Then the first domino fell.

Running back Kyle Porter made the call to Coach Strong Tuesday afternoon, in what was a bit of a surprise. Then D’Andre Christmas-Giles decided to announce his verbal commitment to Texas on a New Orleans TV station (where he is from) that night. It was those two moments that we could feel a little momentum building.

It was one-after-another-after-another when it comes to verbal commitments, and eventual Letters of Intent being signed on National Signing Day itself. Strong pulled in an astonishing eight 4-star prospects in a 24-hour span. It was enough to make him start trending on Twitter by mid-morning.

Texas jumped 22 spots in ESPN’s class rankings to finish #10 with 24 total signees. No other recruiting service had them ranked any lower than #10. And this is a team that went 5-7 last year and 6-7 the year before.

Charlie Strong’s recruiting strategy was extremely gutsy. He went all-in with confidence that he was going to get the players that he wanted. There were a few that he didn’t get on signing day, but signing eight of his twelve targets in a 24-hour period wasn’t a bad showing.

Most coaches want players to commit to their school early. Not Strong. He told recruits to commit to him, but don’t announce it. Why? Because that makes them an easy target for negative recruiting by other schools. If other schools don’t know that they are committed to Texas, then they can’t talk as bad about them to persuade them to back out of their commitment.

That was the secret to Strong and the Longhorns winning signing day.

It wasn’t a surprise to him, even though it may have shocked the country. He knew what was going to happen. But even he admitted he had a couple of surprises that fell in his favor.

One of those pleasant surprises was landing one of the best safeties in the country in Brandon Jones. Jones picked Texas over Texas A&M and Baylor. If you’ve watched any college football over the past few years, you know that both of those programs have had better results on the field than Texas.

Chris Daniels is a defensive lineman that was once committed to Oklahoma.

Christmas-Giles was considering TCU and LSU.

Jeffery McCullouch was considering A&M, Notre Dame and Stanford.

The one thing in common that all those other programs have is that they’ve been better than Texas on the field recently. So how can a Texas team get these players when they’re coming off of a 5-7 season and a 6-7 season the year before?

The answer is trust.

It’s evident that these players trust that Strong will turn around Texas. They want to be a part of something special. Many of the players that Strong signed yesterday could have gone to a dozen or more schools, but they chose Texas.

So what does that all mean for Charlie Strong and the Longhorns?

Nothing if they don’t develop those players and start winning games.

Mack Brown was known as Mr. February during the later part of his career at Texas, since he was able to consistently bring in top-5 recruiting classes. But once the results started becoming non-existent on the field, he found his way out of the program.

This year’s big recruiting class or last year’s won’t matter either if they can’t find a competent quarterback to lead the team. Shane Buechele could be that guy, or someone else could step up.

On paper, this class could be more important than last year’s because it gives the Longhorns depth at just about every position. It will be shocking if more than 4-5 upperclassmen are starting for Texas next year. Because of the 50 or so players that Strong has brought in over the last two seasons, the excuses for losing are becoming few and far between. These are his players now and this is his team.

If Strong doesn’t start winning soon, then he could just be stockpiling the cupboard with talent for another coach to come in and win with his players. We’ve seen it happen with other programs. One thing for certain is that the players will play hard for Strong and will go to war with him any day of the week.

Texas may not be back at the top in 2016, but when Strong’s first two classes at Texas become sophomores and juniors, look out.

National Signing Day: Which Bust Are You Excited About?

I love college football. I watch every Saturday, I have both a podcast and a site about college football. There aren’t many aspects to the sport that don’t hold my interest. I get into the crazy uniforms, the bands, and Oregon’s all the cheerleaders. I can’t get into signing day. I understand why it’s important for the kids, but I don’t get tracking the roots of why one recruit signed with one school over another, or why adults are into tweeting 17 year-old athletes that make the “wrong” decision.

Granted, a lot of those same 17 year-olds look older than I do at 32, but they’re still 17, and some probably aren’t as mature as many their age. So what’s the get? What’s the draw? Sites like Rivals, JJ Huddle, Scout, 247 Sports, etc. probably make millions on ratings and determining who is the overall number one five-star prospect for this week.

Honestly, all the ratings and stars feel like pre-season polls. The overwhelming majority of these kids won’t play for their school for at least two years, and many of them will fail to provide significant value or be memorable at the end of their collegiate careers. Fewer will advance to play professional football, and yes, as we’ve all seen – no five-star recruits played in Super Bowl XLIX.

See how these recruiting rankings feel like pre-season polls? How many times have the pollsters put Notre Dame, USC, and Texas in the top 10 before the season only to wonder where they those schools are at the end of the season?

Some of these athletes will be really good at football, significantly more happen to be in the right place at the right time and have great coaches who are good at selling kids, and some can just flat out play…high school football.

My real question is, why are you so excited? Figuring out if a college recruit will be good is almost as easy as figuring out the MLB draft. No one understands how that works, but people get stupid excited for that.

I don’t know why Byron Cowart (someone’s consensus #1) picked Auburn after dragging the process out needlessly, but what if he’s a bust? Why the all the exclusive coverage? Why the press conference to pick a hat? Everyone hated when LeBron James basically did the same thing in 2010, but in it’s OK for high school students to do the same?

Oh, alright.

Athlon Sports recently published a list of the biggest five-star busts in the last 10 years. It’s worth reading. Here are some of the names that Athalon considers busts: Ryan Perilloux (LSU), Kevin Grady (Michigan), Mitch Mustain (USC), Eugene Clifford (Ohio State), Dayne Christ (Notre Dame), Darrell Scott (Colorado, South Florida), and Isaiah Crowell (Georgia). There are tons of names that I left out, and some of these players have gone on to the NFL, but how were they in college? Were any of the above named worth the hype that fans gave them?

When some of these players (not the ones above) get into trouble and fans complain about how players act better than everyone else, are those the same fans fawning over these players when they’re picking colleges?

Why do so many people get upset when commits flip from one school to another? I know I’m being naïve, but I for many of these kids, earning a scholarship is the only way many of them will have a future for themselves or for their families. Who cares if they decide to leave Ohio and play at Michigan even if Ohio State offered them?

I don’t get the anger or the excitement of the decisions of minors. The media hype comes because we the fans have the desire to know who our schools are recruiting, but remember, the majority of these kids aren’t playing in the next year or two.

Do you get excited for National Signing Day or is it just another day for you? Do you think we as fans go a little overboard on these details of college football?

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