February 3rd was Signing Day around college football as highly touted prospects like Paul Jones –signed with Penn State — decided on their football futures
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 3rd). 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 devoted several hours of coverage — 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 young men 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 2010 Super Class is announced, everyone will already be getting ready to anoint the 2011 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 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 2010 progresses, but I caution college football fans to give these young players time to mature. Of course the usual bullies of the BCS landscape – Florida, USC, Texas, LSU, Alabama, and Oklahoma – were listed as the winners of Signing Day.
Do you remember the names Dan Alexander, 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 3rd are.
NAME HOMETOWN COLLEGE
Tarean Austin Hillsborough, FL New Mexico
Robert Bolden Orchard Lake, MI Penn State
Terrance Broadway Baton Rouge, LA Houston
Dominique Brown Cincinnati, OH Louisville
Tymeer Brown Mc Keesport, PA UCONN
Devin Burns Columbus, GA Maryland
Sam Carter Alief, TX TCU
Kain Colter Englewood, CO Northwestern
James Franklin Lake Dallas, TX Missouri
Devin Gardner Inkster, MI Michigan
Jeffrey Godfrey Miami, FL Central Florida
Javia Hall Dallas, TX UTEP
Kofi Hughes Indianapolis, IN Indiana
Jeremy Johnson Silsbee, TX West Virginia
Rudy Johnson Owings Mills, MD Buffalo
Paul Jones Mc Kees Rocks, PA Penn State
Conelius Jones Spartanburg, SC Michigan
Munchie Legaux New Orleans, LA Colorado
Randall Mackey Bastrop, LA Mississippi
Cameron Newton Atlanta, GA Auburn (JC Transfer)
Jesse Scroggins Lakewood, CA USC
Jameil Showers Killeen, TX Texas A&M
Oscar Simms Chesapeake, VA Alabama
Marcus Smith Columbus, GA Louisville
Jacoby Walker Houston, TX Arkansas
Ricardo Young Washington DC Virginia Tech
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)