Signing Day 2009

(Philadelphia, Pa) — The first week of February has recently become a sports phenomenon as thousands of high school football stars announce their college selections on “Signing Day” (Wednesday February 4th).  As someone who considers himself Old-school and a historian of the game, ‘Signing Day’ is a bit premature and overblown for my taste.  I find it hard to believe the amount of coverage — the ESPN family of channels had over 9 hours — that is given to former high school stars who have not even stepped foot onto a college football practice field.  I even heard some college football analysts absurdly handing out future National Championships and Heisman’s based solely on Signing Day. 

Sure it is a great experience for players and their families to be featured on national television, but you have to wonder if all of the white-hot ‘Signing Day’ attention and expectations placed on these 18-year old kids does more harm than good.  Immediately you know these young players are feeling the outside pressure from hanger-on types that are looking at them as their meal ticket and in terms of football, coaches and teammates may want immediate results from a player who may not be ready to deliver for three years.  For all of the hysteria surrounding Signing Day, my advice to everyone patting these young men on the back is to Relax. The college football world needs to remember that it is only one calendar day and immediately after the 2009 Super Class is announced, everyone will already be getting ready to anoint the 2010 group. 

Unfortunately college football history is filled with high school hotshots who couldn’t live-up to their immense Letter of Intent expectations.  Remember the road from Friday Night Lights high school Big Man to Saturday afternoon college football playmaker is quite trepidous with many potential pitfalls including grades, competition, injuries, girls, partying and any other obstacle that can quickly dim any high school All-American’s bright future.  Another trend that I believe is signaling the too quick end of blue-chip player’s youth is that many Signing Day prospects like Penn State signee Kevin Newsome are graduating high school early (foregoing the final semester of their senior year) to enroll in college in January to get a head start on their competition by playing in college Spring Ball. 

We will have to see in the next 2 to 3 years how the Signing Day Class of 2009 progresses, but I caution everyone that watches ESPN’s College Gameday show to give these young players time to mature.  Do you remember the names Baron Jackson, Anthony Martinez, Ron Powlus, and James Banks…probably not, but on their respective Signing Days, these former blue-chippers were all considered “Can’t Miss” prospects.

Some of the players that I will have my eye on that signed their Letters of Intent on February 4th are. 

NAME                        HOMETOWN         COLLEGE
EJ Banks                    Montour, PA         Notre Dame

Shavodrick Beaver        Rider, TX              Tulsa

Tajh Boyd                    Hampton, Va        Clemson

Raymond Cotton          Fort Meade, MD     Ole Miss

CJ Crawford                 Huntington, WV      Marshall

Curtis Drake               Philadelphia, Pa      Penn State

Chris Frazier                 Dallas, TX             SMU

Ka’lial Glaud                  Atco, NJ               Rutgers

Thomas Gordon             Detroit, MI             Michigan

AJ Graham                   Talahasse, FL        Marshall

Cody Green                  Dayton, TX           Nebraska

Kenny Guiton               Aldine, TX             Ohio State

AJ Highsmith                Fort Bend, TX        Miami

Darren Jones              Harvey, IL             New Mexico

Kenric  McNeal             Spring, TX             Texas A&M

Kevin Newsome           Hargrave Military (VA) Penn State

Morgan Newton             Carmel, IN              Kentucky

Terrence Owens            Cleveland, OH          Toledo

DeVontae Payne            Cleveland, OH        E. Michigan

Jordan Reed               New London, CT           Florida

Tyrik Rollison                 Sulphur Springs, TX   Auburn

Tyler Russell                  Meridian, MS             Miss. St

Nathan Scheelhaase       Kansas City, Mo         Illinois

Russell Shepard              Houston, TX             LSU

David Sims                    St Matthews, SC    Georgia Tech

Eugene Smith                  Miramar, FL             W. Virginia

Travante Stallworth         Leesville, LA              Auburn

Broderick Thomas Jr         Fort Bend, TX           Houston

Logan Thomas             Lynchburg, VA           Virginia  Tech

Edward Wright-Baker       Jeffersonville, IN        Indiana

 

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

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