Welcome to National Pat Yourself on the Back Day.
In college football circles, it doesn’t get any bigger than the first Wednesday of every February. All the hard work, all the sleepless nights, all the promoting and promising, all the plane-flying and car-driving, well, this is the day where all of that pays off.
Whether it legitimately does with wins on the field or the continuing positive evolution of a program remains to be seen. But, for now, coaches across the country can sit down, take a deep breath, exhale and bask in the reality that so many teens to young men bought in to what they were selling.
As signed letters of intent flood fax machines at universities from all levels, most outside those huddled masses in conference rooms with pens, pads, chalk boards, snacks and unhealthy supplies of caffeine really don’t grasp what a big deal this is. But those inside do.
Which is why it’s OK to give them a little slack on all the self-congratulatory handshakes, fist pumps, hoots and hollers.
Put it this way, push comes to shove, their jobs are on the line by whatever talent “haul” they bring in this time each year. Oh, the affects from it will not be felt, pro or con, for a while. But, make no mistake, how coaches fare in the recruit-to-recoup vetting process, the ultimate compensation goal being success on the field leading to more money, job security and, frankly, interest in the school and its grid program.
The process is a fluid one. A blue-chipper today may be a bust tomorrow. Or a transfer realizing he wants to take his skill set elsewhere, perhaps the school he ditched in the first place after being wowed by another’s sales pitch.
Then again, some no-star recruit may blossom into a better player than the five-star kid picked up by the chief rival. Or a walk-on ultimately blows away both.
Don’t think so?
Look no further than this past season’s sack leader at the FBS level, Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib. Not even being the younger brother of an NFL quarterback was enough to convince the Nittany Lions to offer him a full ride coming out of high school. He was seen as, oh, a little lean.
Now, he’s a sure-fire draft pick this coming April.
Still, with all the talent-evaluation out there and the services and sites that provide it, most coaches and their staffs have a pretty good idea of how well they did or didn’t do today, in relation to how that projects into the days, months and years ahead.
But the proverbial pat on the back is coming regardless. Because all the work for this incoming class is finished.
Next up, spring ball, followed by summer camp and the season. With work being put forth toward cobbling together next year’s incoming class the entire time … in order to earn another round of pats on the back.
- Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
As signed letters of intent flood fax machines at universities from all levels, most outside those huddled masses in conference rooms with pens, pads, chalk boards, snacks and unhealthy supplies of caffeine really don't grasp what a big deal this is. But those inside do.
1. Florida State | ACC
2. Alabama | SEC
3. Louisiana State | SEC
4. Mississippi | SEC
5. Ohio State | Big Ten
6. Michigan | Big Ten
7. Georgia | SEC
8. Clemson | ACC
9. Auburn | SEC
10. Texas | Big 12
11. Southern California | Pac-12
12. Florida | SEC
13. Stanford | Pac-12
14. Notre Dame | Independent
15. Tennessee | SEC
Perhaps it would make more sense to deal with some financial broker when it comes to backing certain entities, but when you claim degrees from two schools and have passion for their football programs, well, you know the rest. So, the following is a quick take on National Signing Day 2016 for my teams.