Excerpt from Feb. 5, 2005 column
The college football recruting game is not exactly "The Crying Game," but it's a dramatic thriller. It's also something similar to the TV dating show "Elimidate," where a person has to sift through four or five suitors and goes through the process of elimination until he figures out which one he likes the best—and commits to one of them at the end of the show.
However, celebrating National Signing Day like it's a legitimate holiday is basically a waste of time and energy. It's celebrating buying a lottery ticket before the numbers come out. It is, without a doubt, the most overrated day of the year in college football.
The excitement over potential stars and role players is equivalent of how some adults get excited after their fantasy football drafts, but this time some of these adults are getting excited over 17- through 21-year-old young men who are weeks away from either graduating from high school or transferring from other institutions.
Folks argue day and night about who they have coming to their school while a dozen or so web sites try to tell you who has the top recruiting class among the over 300 Division I schools. These web sites and self-described recruiting gurus then decide who are the best (insert number between one through 200) high school players in the United States of America. Bear in mind there are over 100,000 high schools with over 16 million students enrolled in the U.S. right now.
Sure, it's fun to project and predict and prognosticate where these players will go, However, this whole recruiting thing is a giant crap shoot. These potential players are lured, seduced, enticed, goaded and other similar words when the schools that are doing the luring only have an idea of what they are getting.
In some cases, the young man could be academically ineligible to play right away. In others, he could become homesick and not want to be at the school no more or he just did not meet expectations placed upon him. There are many variables that determine whether not—pardon the use of the following cliché—he's a stud or a dud.
Despite the lack of love for recruiting season, the hoopla of National Signing Day and the parties surrounding a fax machine and hours of highlight tapes, there is some merit to it. Not only is recruiting the lifeblood of a college football program, but Wednesday officially marked the start of the 2006 season. Spring practices are merely weeks away and the schedule should be common public knowledge in the summer.