Game Time: National Signing Day, The Creepiest Day In Sports...And I'm Part Of The Problem
It's all a matter of how you look at it -- if you're a diehard college football fan, then today is December 25. You woke up this morning and ran over to your computer to pull up ESPN's Recruit Tracker the same way you ran downstairs to see what was under the Christmas tree when you were a kid. ("Please, please, please Santa...bring me that Seantrel Henderson that I asked for!!") On the other hand, if you are a sane person with a life, then today is a showcase for the unseemly, borderline creepy side of college football -- a day where grown men let the whims of 18-year old-kids completely govern their emotional well being for the next several weeks, at least.
Unfortunately for me, I fall into the former category, and therefore set the alarm for 7 this morning (which for an afternoon radio host is tantamount to waking up at 3 a.m.) and fired up the laptop and a Venom energy drink to ready myself for College Letter of Intent National Signing Day. It's GO TIME!
Now, in addition to being a college football addict, I have the equal misfortune of being a fan and alumnus of the University of Notre Dame. I say "misfortune" only in a temporary sense; I truly feel the school finally perfected its coaching-search skills (they've certainly had more than enough practice) and they finally got it right with Brian Kelly. If there's one thing Kelly's predecessor Charlie Weis could do it was recruit, but the nature of the beast is such that a coaching change, even a mammoth upgrade from Weis to Kelly, yields fallout from prior commitments and a slew of grab-bagging for table-scrap recruits.
So while the first Wednesday in February had always been Weis' finest hour, this is one of those years where I sit down at the laptop, pull up the Recruit Tracker, and sit there fearful of what I'm going to see. In short, opening the Recruit Tracker today is a little like getting that e-mail from that one friend who thinks it's funny to send links to bestiality porn to all of your buddies under the guise of "Whoa! Check this out! It's HOT!!" You know it's not going to be good, and yet you end up clicking anyway because today it may actually be the lost Jessica Alba Video. Today, for me, Seantrel Henderson is Jessica Alba.
Okay, so the modus operandi is to open one browser with Twitter and another with ESPN's Live Blog of Signing Day occurrences, thus keeping myself in the loop on alma mater happenings and national rumblings. This will allow me to follow as each of Notre Dame's current recruits fax their Letters of Intent in (thanks to Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated, who is a great follow on Twitter for ND fans) and revel in other people's misery when one of the 18-year-old knuckleheads committed to some other school decides after being committed for the better part of a year that he's changing his mind ten seconds before he takes the cap off his pen to sign the LOI. Always high comedy as long as (a) Notre Dame is not involved and (b) the recruit ends up at a school where you know he will fail.
A running diary, if you will, of my morning as a recruitnik/creepy college football fan...
7:00 -- We're off and running. According to Irish Illustrated, the first faxes are in at Chateau de Notre Dame. No surprise here, the first two faxes in are from DE Bruce Heggie and TE-soon-to-be-OT Tate Nichols. Both were under-recruited kids who Brian Kelly saw something in; the quintessential RKG's, as Kelly calls them -- "Right Kind of Guys", which is euphemism for "we have no idea where we're gonna play him, but we'll figure that out later." In fact, Heggie's only D-1 offer was Notre Dame, so my guess is he faxed his in at 7:00:01. Would've loved to have had a webcam at his house if the line were busy, watching him frantically dial like a caller to a talk show trying to win Kanye West tickets. REDIAL, REDIAL, REDIAL....SHIIIT, THEY'RE NOT PICKING UP!!!! DAMMIT, MY SCHOLARSHIIIIPPPPP!!!!!!
7:03 -- QB Andrew Hendrix of Cincinnati Moeller faxes his LOI to Notre Dame. Brian Kelly likes to stockpile quarterbacks like Mr. Myagi stockpiles classic cars in The Karate Kid. Speaking of which, if there were a karate LOI signing day, how badly panned would Myagi have been for his entire recruiting class being Daniel-San? That's like having your only recruit be a two-star long-snapper from North Dakota.
7:10 -- The QB's are piling up....Luke Massa, also a Cincy kid, and Derek Robard, who actually will probably end up playing some other position, what with him being an RKG and all.
7:15 -- Austin Collinsworth, son of bird-faced color commentator Cris Collinsworth, is in the fold for ND. And you know what that means?....FREE MADDEN FOR EVERYONE!!!!
7:17 -- You'll notice a theme in this year's ND recruiting class, lots of quarterbacks and lots of kids from Ohio. Go ahead and throw Elder tight end Alex Welch in with the rest. He has faxed in his LOI. ND has had good luck with tight ends from Elder High (Kyle Rudolph).
7:25 -- Shit....I'm hungry....ham, egg, and cheese bagel coming up!!
7:29 -- Swinging over to the ESPN NSD Blog, it appears the blood war that is recruiting in the SEC is well underway with rumors of two defections from Georgia's 2010 class -- CB Nickell Robey appears to be headed to USC, and WR Da'Rick Rogers is going to Tennessee. And I'm sure Mark Richt had plenty of advanced warning, too....and by "plenty," I mean "none." I swear, if I coached college kids, I'd die from the stress by age 50.
7:35 -- Meanwhile, LOI's for WR Bennett Jackson, WR Daniel Smith, and DE Prince Shembo arrive at the Notre Dame football office via fax. I'm pretty sure Shembo is not an actual prince, but it would be awesome if he were and he had his own currency like Akeem, the Prince of Zamunda, in Coming to America. It would also be interesting if he were an actual prince and got into trouble with Student Affairs at ND just to see how much it would cost to buy his way out of the trouble. I say at least twenty million. (ND alums everywhere nodding their heads knowing it's true....)
7:46 -- Uh oh! Blood war has turned into a border skirmish as Butch Davis and UNC have pilfered WR Sean Tapley from South Carolina. SEC coaches will not like this, what with the ACC coming into their sandbox. That's bad for Spurrier. Getting a recruit stolen from you by the ACC is like getting beaten up by a girl on the playground.
8:05 -- DT Louis Nix of Jacksonville faxes his LOI in to Notre Dame. As Tiger Woods would say..."Huge."
8:23 -- According to ESPN NSD Blog, Lane Kiffin is off and running at USC, stealing Robey from Georgia, pulling Markeith Ambles out of the southeast, and out-scumbagging Rick Neuheisel for Hayes Pullard out of Crenshaw High. Congratulations kids, you now play for the biggest douchebag carpetbagger in college sports, and that's saying something.
8:30 -- Christian Lombard, offensive lineman from Illinois, who verballed to ND like ten years ago it feels like, faxes in his LOI to Notre Dame. Kendall Moore, thumper from North Carolina, is in as well. He can be the Arsenio Hall character for the Prince of Shembo.
8:45 -- Notre Dame's best chance at a surprise on Signing Day is off the board as Christian Jones is heading to Florida State. This is the fifth or sixth big-time recruit Jimbo Fisher has landed since being named unequivocal head coach of the Noles. I wonder if the Bowden apologists are still screaming that he was "done wrong" after being cut loose. How do those last eight years with a senile Bowden at the helm taste now FSU?
9:00 -- Brian Kelly wins his first big-time head-to-head battle, getting a signed LOI from Cincinnati offensive lineman Matt James and in the process figuratively jamming an ice pick right between Jim Tressel's eyes. TAKE 'AT, TRESSY!!
9:15 -- Four-star athlete and RKG Danny Spond faxes his LOI into Brian Kelly, as does DE Justin Utopo. Taking inventory of the class, it appears we're still waiting on an LOI from running back Cameron Roberson and for a decision from a couple of kids from Hawaii who are being recruited ostensibly as RKG's, but really more to be FOM's (Friends of Manti...Manti Te'o, the stud linebacker who had a nice freshman year for Notre Dame this season).
9:30 -- Well, clearly a bunch of the recruiting creepers got on Cameron Roberson's Facebook page and told him to hurry the hell up, because right on cue, he just faxed in his LOI. Meanwhile, rumors are that ND will land one of the two FOM's from Hawaii. I'm gonna call it a wrap on this year's class. Kudos to Kelly for a job....done.
Still need some more schadenfreude from around the country, though. It's been a slow morning for backstabbing and lying. Come on, boys...pick up the pace!!
10:14 -- All right, I'll take what I can get. New Louisville coach Charlie Strong just lost a four-star commit on the offensive line, Torrian Wilson, to Central Florida. If losing a border skirmish to an ACC school is like getting slapped by a girl on the playground, losing a commit on signing day to a C-USA school is like having her then throw a gag ball on you and walk you around the playground on all fours.
10:23 -- Looks like the Zooker magic is running out, and he'll have to smokescreen some other school into thinking he can coach in a couple years -- Corey Cooper, safety from Maywood, IL, decommits from the Zookers and goes with the fighting Schwimmer Lookalikes of Nebraska.
10:45 -- And boom goes the dynamite....Corey Nelson, linebacker from Dallas Skyline, breaks Aggie hearts everywhere, decommitting from A&M and opting to head north to Oklahoma. This, of course, occurs after saying he was committed to A&M right up until....well, now.
11:10 -- There, that's more like it!! Some good SEC on SEC violence!! Defensive lineman J.C. Copeland switches his commit from Tennessee to LSU. And for good measure, just to show the power of his fully operational battle station, Les Miles swipes wide receiver Kadron Boone from Texas Tech. (What is it with all these kids switching to LSU? Have they not watched a Les Miles-coached team when he's got a team full of his own recruits? Honestly, I hope every five-star kid that doesn't go to my school goes to LSU so they can lose four or five games a year and watch their coach mismanage them into non-BCS bowls. Have fun. And what is Boone thinking? Fine, I get not staying at Tech after Leach leaves. You're a wideout, you want touches. But did you watch LSU's offense this season??)
11:19 -- Story out of Alabama that one of their commits Keenan Allen of Greensboro, NC, at the last minute wanted Nick Saban to also bring in his half-brother Zach Maynard on scholarship as well. Saban, in no uncertain terms, basically told Allen to fuck off, so Allen decided to take his half-brother and two other Greensboro-area recruits to Cal with him. Good for Saban. Hey Allen, it's not a nightclub where you're trying to sneak some of your buddies in, it's a college football program. Jack ass.
11:33 -- Offensive lineman James Stone commits to Tennessee. Apparently the Vols can thank Lane Kiffin for this one. "He always liked UT, but he wasn't going to go there with Kiffin and Orgeron," Maplewood High School coach Ralph Thompson told the Tennessean. "He wasn't really considering UT as long as Kiffin and Orgeron were there. Once (Derek) Dooley got the job and Kiffin was out of there, once he was able to meet Dooley and see what kind of guy he was, he was all for going to UT." This kid is my new favorite player. The Kiffin castle will fall, and I can't wait to be there when it happens.
12:49 -- Cincinnati signed a quarterback named Munchie Lagaux from New Orleans. On the day we saw a dude named "Markeith" sign a letter of intent and just when you think you've heard every name possible....Munchie? There's a dope-smoking story in that name somewhere...there has to be.
Well, all that's left to do now is watch Seantrel Henderson not pick Notre Dame this afternoon so I suppose I'll get to work. I know, this recruiting thing is creepy and it's sick....so naturally, I have to go get ready to devote four hours of radio to it today. Won't you please listen?
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the Sean & John Show, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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