This week marked the National Signing Day for NCAA football programs. As a University of Oregon Alum and season ticket holder I have mixed feelings. I’m stoked to see who the Ducks will pick up, but on the other hand I think the entire process is a little over the top. Signing Day will determine the future for coaches, recruits, and schools. Millions of dollars are spent; careers can be made or broken depending on which school a couple of four- or five-star recruits select.
I had the good fortune of attending the Oregon Signing Day Dinner with our Umpqua Bank Challenge Pro-Am Sponsor, Regence. Oregon Coach Chip Kelly gave a rundown of his thoughts on each of the recruits. As usual, Coach Kelly was his typical rough-around-the-edges self. I thought he had a pretty good take on signing day though. “We’re not jumping up and down when the fax machine goes off. We save that for when we’re scoring touchdowns in the fall.” He also discussed how he has a training session on signing day every year for the current team, to give them perspective. Another priceless Kelly quote “Most of these kids that have their day in the sun today with putting hats on or pulling dogs…aren’t really gonna have an impact next fall.” Maybe that is a little too much humility, but treating seventeen and eighteen year old’s like they are entering the NFL draft is ridiculous too. I blame SEC fans, like this one.
The fact that these high school kids can generate so much interest and media is amazing to me. There is around the clock coverage leading up to signing day. Each of the local sports radio stations covered signing day with interviews from Oregon and Oregon State as well as bloggers and recruiting experts that follow recruiting year round. Here is one guy that just does it for fun, in addition to breaking down the game film of each Duck football game.
When you start writing blogs like this (or even reading them) or subscribing to some recruiting news service, it might be time to re-evaluate your commitment as a fan. It’s one thing to dress your daughter in Oregon gear, and re-watch all the games the next day on the DVR, but being able to list off two-star recruits who have never seen a college snap is another level entirely (maybe I’m in denial).
At some point as a fan you have to draw the line. “I think this (Signing Day) itself has turned into this phenomenon that I just kind of shake my head at…It’s crazy to be honest with you.” Another Kelly quote. I really think that he has the best assessment. He’s an X’s and O’s guy and that’s it. You can tell how much he hates the glad-handing. As long as he keeps classes like this coming in and the BCS games going I have no complaints. He might be direct, but I think that everyone could use a dose of his reality on signing day. Let’s make SEC fans run up-downs for spring ball!
I was lucky enough to get a picture with the Rose Bowl Trophy during the Oregon Signing Day Dinner.