My old boss hated recruiting in general, and signing day in particular.
His philosophy: Why are we devoting so much time and effort to covering athletes who haven’t (in most cases) even set foot on campus, let alone donned a uniform?
I countered by saying that signing day is like Christmas Day – you see the presents under the tree and you just can’t wait to open them. Sure, some the presents will be the wrong size, and others will break down shortly after they are freed from the wrapping paper. But every now and then you get to open a present that is great in every way.
The same holds true with the young athletes signing letters of intent each year. You never know what you’re going to get, but right now their potential seems unlimited.
National signing day for football is Wednesday, and I can’t wait. There’s always some sort of intrigue – either a player opts at the last minute to sign with another school, or forgot to sign his letter, or perhaps CSU lands a surprise player thought to be out of reach – to make things interesting. Even in this era of early commitments and tell-all recruiting sites that seem to know a recruit’s every move, surprises still happen.
Mostly, I just like hearing the stories about the individual players and how they came into the fold.
I want to hear how coaches convinced Kapri Bibbs, a running back from Plainfield, Ill., who rushed for 520 yards and 7 TDs in a single game, to become a Ram.
How did CSU’s coaches wrestle defensive tackle Isiah Norton, considered the jewel of the class, away from schools like Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and the other 13 schools that offered him scholarships?
Is Sam Carlson, an offensive lineman who drew only lukewarm accolades from recruiting services, really a player, or did CSU coaches simply snatch him up because he played locally at Poudre High School?
Is Dorian Brown, the star running back from Loveland, expected to play next year or will he likely sit out 2011 while recovering from the ACL injury that ended his senior season before it started? And if he hadn’t been hurt, would he still have chosen CSU?
Does every CSU coach have the directions memorized to the Kawulok home outside Boulder? After all, when Joe signs Wednesday, he will be the third member of that family to cast his lot with the Rams in the past 10 years. (On a side note, what did the Kawuloks feed their kids? After all, this will be the FOURTH Kawulok boy to play Division I football – a remarkable occurrence that defies all logic.)
Who is the one sleeper – the guy nobody is paying much attention to – who really gets coach Steve Fairchild excited?
Of course, we won’t really know whether this recruiting class is any good for another two to three years. Right now, it’s all just hype and hope.
Still, with the Rams coming off back-to-back 3-9 seasons, signing day is the one time when all of that is forgotten. The future looks brighter, somehow – and that’s all this fan needs on a bitter-cold February day.