Tuesday Question - Signing Day Spotlight

Posted Feb 5, 2007

Tuesday Question ... What to look for on Signing Day

Past TQs
- Bears or Colts?
- Early bowl surprises and trends
- 3 things to look for from the bowls
- Do you want the Alabama job?
- What are the 3 best non-BCS bowls?
- Who's 2nd in the Heisman race?
- Michigan-OSU rematch?
- Michigan or Ohio State?
- Should Louisville be No. 3?
- The nat'l title game will be ...
- The best one-loss team
- Rule changes to help the flow
- The Midseason Stuff
- The real top five ranking
- The early coach of the year is ...?
- These three teams are for real, these three aren't
- After 2 weeks, who's better, who's worse?
- 10 Greatest Quarterbacks of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Defensive Players of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Regular Season Games of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Playmakers of All-Time
- 10 Worst Heisman Winners
- 10 Greatest Bowl Games
- All-Time Offensive Team
- All-Time Defensive Team

Pete Fiutak           

Q: What do you look for on Signing Day?

A. 1. Which teams are getting the "hot" prospects? Not one or two top guys, but several above-average players.

2. What positions are teams going after? If you see someone going for tons of linemen, you know what the focus will be.

3. How desperate are coaches to win right now? If you see lots of JUCO players and players with college measurables, that might not mean they'll grow into top stars.

4. How much do players want programs and how much do they go for the coaches? Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden won't be coaching five years from now.

5. Who owns the top talent in certain regions? How's the Clemson - South Carolina recruiting battle going? Texas vs. Oklahoma? The entire state of Florida? The trends are more important than the actual players.

Richard Cirminiello

Q: What do you look for on Signing Day?

A: I realize this is heresy in so many circles, but as far as February celebrations go, Signing Day is just a little less overrated than Valentine’s Day.  I totally connect with why fans follow the new influx of talent at their schools, but on a macro level, there’s way too much attention given to way too many kids that’ll never even register on the Saturday Richter Scale over the next five years.  When you’re trying to cover everything, it’s important to prioritize, which means that three-star tackle from Texas Tech cannot appear on my radar until he’s actually competing for a starting job.  My personal Cardinal Rule for Signing Day is to get to know the guys that we’re most likely to be talking about in the upcoming season.  That means three areas of concentration:

1. JUCO transfers.  No player is more uniquely ready to step right into the lineup and contribute than the junior-college athlete, who’s a little bigger and more seasoned than a true freshman.  Kenny O’Neal going to Tennessee and Woodny Turenne signing with Louisville, for instance, really matter because both players have the talent and opportunity to be impact players right away.

2. Five-star recruits.  Sure, some of these guys will inevitably disappoint, but this is the crème de la crème of high school players, so it’s never too early to get to know who they are and where they’re headed.  Some will get playing time right away, but even if they redshirt for the year, there’s a good chance these 25 or so blue-chippers, such as Jimmy Clausen, Joe McKnight and Carlos Dunlap will be household names before too long.

3.  Surprisingly good classes.  Florida, Texas, LSU and USC have assembled killer classes.  Good for them, old news for us.  The real story comes from programs, such as Illinois, Oregon and South Carolina, which are on the verge of attracting the level of talent that could really elevate each program over the next few seasons.

Michael Bradley

Q: What do you look for on Signing Day?

A. I can’t wait to see the last-minute “Come to Papa” commitments, when star players who have previously pledged their troth to one school for months experience revelatory moments of clarity and change their minds. This will no doubt benefit Florida, USC and perhaps Alabama, which has been working feverishly to fill out its class under new boss Nick Saban. We’re always hearing about how kids want to play for the in-state school or the hometown coach, but when the giants come calling, it’s hard to resist their allure. Many of the prep stars who have committed will stand strongly by their choices, but there will be some flip-flops. And those who have waited until the last minute (second!) will provide the annual drama, as they step to the podium with nine hats in their hands and ultimately make their decision based on how good the ice cream in the school cafeteria tastes. Such is the danger of laying one’s professional life in the hands of 18-year olds. Such is the beauty of Signing Day.

John Harris

Q: What do you look for on Signing Day?

A. A few things I will be looking for come signing day…

1.  How much is a national championship worth for the Florida Gators?  Whether a national championship is the direct cause of a few local products (James Wilson from Nease and John Brantley from Trinity Catholic) changing commitments is debatable, but what’s not is the fact that of the top five uncommitted recruits in the nation, three of them are considering Florida.  This is already a young, talented team and it’s going to get even younger and arguably more talented.

2.  I’m intrigued by what Nick Saban will have gotten done in a short amount of time.  He lost a tremendously talented quarterback Robert Marve, who broke Tim Tebow’s passing records this year in the state of Florida, to Miami.  But, Saban has closed the deal in February with big-time recruits in the past, so what will a final push by Nick and his staff generate in Tuscaloosa?

3.  Did the ‘ol ball coach reel in a top 20 class at South Carolina?  Allegedly, Steve Spurrier has been as active in recruiting as he’s ever been and the results, commitment wise, have been worth the time spent away from the beautiful Palmetto State golf courses.  He’s going to need all of those commitments to sign…and be studs as freshmen, especially with what Florida and Georgia have coming back.

4.  Rutgers got a commitment from 6’5, 330 pound offensive tackle Anthony Davis, a five star local kid, who was swayed by the season that Greg Schiano and the Scarlet Knights had this year.  One great season is starting to pay big, BIG dividends, figuratively and literally, for Schiano and his program and Davis might only be the start.

5.  And, the last item…it won’t be something that will come to fruition on signing day, but I’m real curious to see how Jimmy Clausen will pan out at Notre Dame.  I’m not convinced that he’s the number one recruit in the country (and there are others who feel the same way) and I’m real interested to see how he handles four years with Charlie Weis and the pressure that comes with being the Domer’s starting QB.  But, more importantly, the Irish did get a commitment from one of the best defensive back recruits in the nation, Gary Gray from South Carolina, a guy I’m tremendously impressed with.  Gray’s signing should bolster the one area that has probably cost them more than any other in the past two years.

Matthew Zemek

Q: What do you look for on Signing Day?

A. I can't say I'd be looking for much. Consider the just-completed odyssey of Chris Leak at Florida: he was such a stud coming out of high school, but it took him four long and laborious years to become the player he became.

Recruiting's biggest component is quality depth, but in terms of individual signees, it's all a mirage. The ones with mental toughness are the gems, and you don't know who's tougher between the ears (and in the heart) until September.

Stay tuned.