Editor’s Note: Before you dive into Freddie’s insightful post, go ahead and cross TaDarryl Marshall off your list of potential late additions. The Alabama athlete has committed to Samford via Twitter. Carry on, and enjoy our continued NSD coverage.
February 1st marks the beginning of the pre-National Signing Day dead period. Coaches and prospects are not allowed contact each other in person but can communicate electronically. The rule makes sense and was designed to prohibit coaches from hiding prospects on campus in the hours prior to signature time.
February the 3rd is the first date that non-early enrollees can sign a Letter of Intent; however, remember it’s just the first day. Prospects can and have signed a LOI on later dates. Normally, athletes that postpone signing of are the mega 5-star quality. In the dog eat dog world of college football recruiting, coaches will not wait for marginal players.
I’ve had the honor to participate in the past three UK Signing Day Shows. Here are 5 notes and lessons learned:
- Coffee. The stench of caffeinated java resonates throughout the center. Got to remember the coaching staff is coming off hours upon hours of phone calls, visits, and travel. They’re tired, as are the talking heads after hours of babbling.
- The first and last thirty minutes are fast-paced and normally the time of the most “unknowns.” Which player will be the first to fax their LOI? Who are the last minute signees or flips? Also, under the radar prospects that emerge as late-committing Wildcats require a scramble to assemble notes and talking points.
- The process includes more than the coaching staff. NCAA Compliance, Video/Media Relations, Support Staff, Athletic Director’s Office and more are all bunkered down and in full operation. All UK hands will be on deck. I actually become infatuated with the “process” from fax to announcement. You’ll notice that talking heads are not allowed to discuss a name until the LOI is official and approved. Major no-no.
- Individual coaches glow in pride when a player that they acted as primary recruiter faxes in their signature. Let’s be clear, football coaches are Alpha Dog Competitors. Beating peers for the fax is as intense as 4th and goal on the one-yard line. Focused faces break smiles and jubilation takes the place of stoic confidence. My first year I was a little jumpy due to impulsive celebration.
- Defensive Coordinator DJ Eliot slapped my head during last year’s show. Being the dialed in unprofessional as I am, I didn’t notice until my twitter blew up. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a tad bit competitive and intense myself. If that happens this year, I’m dropping the mic and throwing haymakers. Not sayin, but saying. Joking of course, unless Drew Franklin promises to have my back then it’s on.
Stay tuned. Signing Day promises unexpected yet expected twists and turns. Football fan or not, the UK Signing Day Show is reality television. No scripts, uncensored, and spontaneous.