National Signing day: How Powerhouses are built

National Signing day: How Powerhouses are built

Every year around February 2nd the next great college football players are able to sign and fax their letters of intent to the school they commit to.

But signing day has become a less hyped event in recent years due to all of the early commitments. Players sight injury possibilities and tons of stress from the media as reasons that they commit so early. I mean there are class of 2017 high school prospects already committed to major D-1 programs. Those being Dylan Moses to LSU, who donned the cover of ESPN the magazine his 8th grade year and Masilion (OH) quarterback Danny Clark who has verbally committed to Ohio State.

Recruiting is more a marathon than a sprint. One of the biggest reasons there is not an early signing period like basketball is that the elite programs want to pounce on the programs that have bad seasons and no momentum going into signing day.

I am not even sure what it means when you “commit” to a school anymore. I have seen players say they remain committed to one school, but then say they have a “top three”. It is a rare year when any D-1 program doesn’t have at least one prospect that has de-committed at least one time on their commit list on signing day. That may be a result of so many players committing early. Another factor would definitely be the number of coaches that are hired and fired each year. Even Elder Senior Devin Pike flipped his commitment from Louisville to Wake Forest in the final weeks. This came after Louisville lost head coach Charlie Strong to Texas and hired former coach Bobby Petrino away from Western Kentucky.

The fact of the matter is that players matter and to get the players you have to have recruiters. That is why the Alabamas and the Ohio States of the world are able to do so well. Urban Meyer and Nick Saban are two of the if not the best recruiters in the country. If you look at the top teams in country each year 80% of them are among the teams with the best recruiting classes year in year out.

Not only do you have to put a metaphoric fence around your own “backyard” but in order to win national championships you have to recruit nationally. That is why Texas has struggled so much in recent years. The Longhorns have only recruited the state of Texas. The states with the most talent year in year out are Ohio, Texas, California, Florida, and Georgia. Ohio State has grabbed multiple players from each of those states in recent years. Those players include Dontre Wilson (Texas), Raekwon McMillan (Georgia), Joey Bosa (Florida), and Marcus Baugh (California). All of those prospects were rated 4 stars or better. Locally we saw Alabama invade Ohio and beat out Urban Meyer and the buckeyes for LaSalle wide receiver Derek Kief.

Not only do those states produce the star players such as Johnny Football, RGIII, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson, etc. but they also produce the hidden gems such as Darqueze Denard at MSU or Carlos Hyde at Ohio State. So, those states are very critical to success in recruiting and on the field.

A recruiting national championship doesn’t mean anything per say, but recruiting definitely shows results on the field. Alabama has finished in the top two in recruiting rankings in each of the last five years. That has only gotten them three national championships and only six losses. Ohio State has finished in the top five in each of the three recruiting classes under head coach Urban Meyer. That has resulted in two losses in his tenure.

What is the best conference by far? The SEC. Well, here’s why. The SEC gets all of the good players. From 2006 to 2013 the SEC has signed 416 players in the ESPN 300. That is more than twice any other conference (ACC with 200). The SEC signed four of the top five recruiting classes this year and seven of the top 10! That is dominance. The only class in the SEC not in the top 40 was Vandy and that was only because James Franklin left and took nearly half with him to Penn State.

Florida State, who just won the national championship, finished second in this year’s recruiting rankings according to ESPN. Over the last four years their average class is number 5. That is pretty good when your located in Florida competing with Miami (Fl.) and the Gators who play in the SEC.

The real surprise is that FSU was able to land top ranked quarterback out of high school and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston out of Alabama and Nick Saban’s backyard. Usually Auburn and Alabama put a fence around that state.

This year Alabama was able to land what is being talked about as the greatest recruiting class of all time. That includes top ranked defensive end De’Shawn Hand, top ranked offensive tackle Cameron Robinson among a host of others.

What does this all mean? It means that recruiting matters. You need the players before anything else and right now it looks like the SEC and Alabama are going to be good for a long long time. Unless, the Big Ten could get some recruiters and learn from the SEC. Other wise the SEC-reign could go another seven years.