First off, it has been a busy week for me. Not so much with National Signing Day (NSD) and paying attention to recruiting but more on the family aspect. My wife and I welcomed our 2nd child on February 1st. I know she will be a great child because she was born before the Super Bowl, allowing me to not miss any of the game! Welcome to the world Taylor Lauren Hostetler.
So — signing day has come and gone! Many coaches’, fans’ and recruits’ dreams have been fulfilled or shattered all in one short day. Signing day is the one time a year where the record of the past year does not matter, and it gives hope to a fan base about things to come in the fall. You might be reading my title and go, “Oh boy, another SEC homer here tooting his horn!”
Well, YES!!!!! and no. Our main focus of the week is to look back at NSD, and really, outside the SEC, what do we have to talk about . . . Southern California and their recruiting class? The big day not only gives all teams hope for the upcoming season, but it also re-enforces the fact that the SEC gets it done. 7 out of the Top-10 teams were the SEC. Alabama has once again gotten the No. 1 recruiting class for the hundredth time in a row . . . or so it seems.
Yes, the SEC lost the title game vs. FSU and has been “dethroned” in that aspect, but, come signing day, you would think every top recruit is required to go to an SEC school! So I am sure the comment board will blow up with that paragraph, but when another conference can even get 3 or 4 teams in the top-10 of the recruiting ranking . . . then you will have something to talk about. Let’s get into some of the news and highlights from Signing Day.
1) One surprise on signing day was at Texas A&M. Yes, they landed a top class but that is not what I am talking about. Cedric Collins was committed to Texas A&M and ready to go. Unfortunately he had a career-ending injury and will never play football again. Most coaches would move onto the next recruit and go from there. If you can’t play then you can’t help the team.
Texas A&M coach, Kevin Sumlin, looked past that and is still honoring his scholarship. I think that is great! We all know the business of college football, but Sumlin was able to look past that and still do the right thing. I enjoy seeing stories like this – it gives me hope that people still realize there is more to life than football.
2) No matter who your team signs, there will always be winners and losers. What really surprised me was Tennessee doing so well on the recruiting trail. People forget that Tennessee has top-rated facilities, a huge fan base and a giant stadium to pack them all into. Look for Tennessee to be on the uptick while other top schools that had way better seasons than Tennessee, did not do so well on NSD. If Butch Jones can turn around Tennessee like he did Cincinnati, then look out Alabama. He has proven he can get it done on the recruiting trail, so now it is time to prove it on the field!
3) If you are a Florida State fan (I AM NOT) then rejoice this week. Your school landed a Top-5 recruiting class, but more importantly got an even bigger commit when it was reported that Jameis Winston will NOT be headed to the NFL DRAFT first chance he gets but instead, play out all of his college years. Looks like FSU fans can plan for great things for the next few years. It always helps a coach rest at ease when he has a quarterback like Winston committing to him for the next couple years and can groom the predecessor properly.
So there you have it. National Signing Day has proven the SEC still dominates, while the rest of the country plays catch up. I would talk about Oregon and their recruiting class but FishDuck.com will take care of that.
Really, is there anything to get excited for with Oregon’s recruiting class? For a program doing as well as they are, the Ducks did not even crack the Top-20 or Top-25 . . . all depending on where you are looking from. With all the resources made available to Oregon and all of the support they get, I expected more from them. I am sure I will hear all about that last sentence. Enjoy the off season and now it’s back to watching ESPN CLASSIC REPLAYS from this past season until spring ball gets here.
[Editor’s note: Jeff, congrats on the newly-minted Taylor Lauren! — but now – if you are going to make a big deal out of Winston coming back, throw in a few recruiting points for Marcus Mariota, Hroniss Grasu and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu for the Ducks, while you are at it! *wink*]
1. ACC wants a piece of the SEC
2. Oklahoma QB situation changing
3. Florida loses another
4. Nick Saban gets it done
5. Tennessee war room