If you or anyone you know is a big college football fan, chances are good that you or someone you know is freaking the hell out right now, and will be for the majority of today. Why? Well, it’s national signing day for college football. If you already know this, you may proceed to go about your day, which will probably include freakouts over whether certain players are signing with your favorite team. If not, here are a few the first day high school football prospects can sign binding letters of intent to attend the college of their choice. If you know this, a brief FAQ to get you caught up.
Q. What is national signing day, anyway?
A. Signing day is the first day high school football recruits can sign binding letters of intent to attend the school of their choice. Up until today, all we have are non-binding verbal commitments – most of which hold and end up with kids signing with the school they commit to originally, but not always.
Q. Got it. So who’s the best one of these recruits out there?
A. Most people would tell you that’s Dorial Green-Beckham, a 6-6, 220-pound receiver for Hillcrest High School in Missouri. Green-Beckham’s got the size (obviously) and speed teams covet in abundance, and today, he chose Missouri. That program has some deliriously happy fans right about now.
Q. People really seem to care a lot about signing day. Why should I?
A. Honestly…you probably shouldn’t. If you don’t care about it currently, continue not to care about it.
Q. Okay then – why shouldn’t I care about it?
A. Because the more you think about it (even for someone who follows this stuff as religiously as I do), the creepier it gets. These are high school kids, and whether I and a whole bunch of other people have a good day or not depends on a decision that means infinitely more to them than it does to us. We’re getting completely wrapped up in the lives of kids – again, kids! – we don’t know personally, and somehow we think we know what’s best for them (i.e. signing with our team of choice). If you step back and think about it, this whole process is screwed up.
Q. Yeah, sounds like it. So why do you care so much, you sick freaks?
A. Well, cruel hypothetical questioner, the reason can be found in this adage: “recruiting is the lifeblood of college football.” Recruiting is where it all begins. These are the guys we’re going to be following for the next four years. On signing day, hope springs eternal. You can imagine what these guys are going to be, with no games on the horizon to present you with the sometimes-awesome, sometimes-harsh realities of what they actually are.
And while of course recruiting rankings and the like are an inexact predictor of future success, overall, they tend to forecast pretty well who the best teams will be going forward. Check out Rivals’ list of team rankings – pretty good team at the top of that list, no? Same with previous years. And if they weren’t necessarily good teams in 2011, they’re teams that are likely to bounce back in the coming years (think Florida, Texas, Ohio State)…thanks in part to the classes they’ll sign today.
Moreover, it’s a way to follow college football year-round. NFL has the draft, free agency, trades, minicamps, etc. to fill the dormant months. College football has recruiting. It makes rivalries, and smack talk resulting from said rivalries, continue off the field. And it’s got drama – as of the beginning of today, three of Rivals’ top 10 players nationally were still undecided. Gonna be a tense day for the fanbases of the schools vying for those players. Recruiting, essentially, is everything we like about sports minus the games themselves, and today is when it all comes to a head.
Q. Whatever. Still sounds creepy.
A. Quit rubbing it in, stupid jerk.