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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Enough with UA football signing day

    Happy Holidays!

    I mean, happy national signing day for college football. Sorry, I got confused with all the hype surrounding the now-fabled first Wednesday of February. What used to be a day for the groundhog to go back into his hidey-hole has morphed into a monster.

    Kids are being hounded around the clock by the media just to see where they’re going to attend classes for the next four years (probably less than that in some recruits’ cases). ESPNU has a show dedicated solely to this day, “”National Signing Day Recruiting Insider Special”” that gives these kids live airtime to announce to the world what jersey they’ll be wearing. The show will feature a continually updating commit list as well as “”a live blog breaking down the day’s events.””

    This is exactly what’s wrong with college football today (besides the Bowl Championship Series). Seventeen and 18-year-old kids are getting star treatment like they’ve already accomplished something huge. This spectacle is directly responsible, though not entirely, for the me-me-me attitude of most players these days. Look what happened to Michael Vick with his highly publicized legal troubles. Something tells me the star treatment he got before and during college more than likely contributed to his poor financial decisions.

    I know some top rated recruits’ skills have panned out as expected in past years, such as Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson, USC’s Reggie Bush and Florida’s Tim Tebow. But at the same time others have flopped – see Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen, last year’s overall No. 1 recruit.

    Or look at Louis Holmes. He was the No. 1-rated player coming out of junior college and he hasn’t exactly performed up to expectations during his time in Tucson.

    “”Players don’t pan out all the time,”” said Josh Gershon, senior editor for Goazcats.com. “”It’s not the kind of thing where (recruits flopping) is a rarity. It’s a crapshoot.””

    Coaches should pay more attention to a player’s potential rather than how good they are now. I’m not saying ignore their talent entirely, but if you have two similar kids and one has a higher ceiling than the other, I’d lean toward the one with more potential.

    Take Terrelle Pryor, this year’s most coveted recruit, for example. Sure, he’s 6-foot-6 and weighs 227 pounds. Sure, he passed for 1,889 yards and ran for another 1,889 yards totaling 58 touchdowns for Jeanette High School in Jeanette, Pa.

    But do you honestly think he was putting up those numbers against anywhere close to the same level of competition he’ll be seeing in college? Even if he throws a curveball and commits to New Mexico there will be a steep learning curve and he won’t be able to make the same types of plays he made in high school. There’s no way anybody can be sure he’s the real thing.

    Having said all of that, national signing day does help the game in some aspects. It gives avid college football fans something to talk about during the spring and summer and does a lot to help generate excitement for the upcoming season.

    “”Lots of people pay a lot of money (for recruiting information) and it’s a big deal,”” Gershon said. “”We’ve got subscribers who are barely in high school and some who are over 70 that follow it.

    “”People that never thought they could get so involved in the decision of 17-year-old kids get more and more involved every year,”” Gershon added.

    By all means, do what you can to get your fanbase pumped for the upcoming season, just leave the kids out of it. There’s already one fabricated holiday in February. The last thing we need is another one.

    Brian Kimball is a journalism junior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu

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