National Signing Day Hype: Too much?

With coverage of National Signing Day scheduled to begin tomorrow morning, one question still exists – mainly among college football writers and fans: Do we make too much of it?

Signing Day serves as the first day in which high school football prospects are allowed to sign letters of intent to their desired schools. Many athletes have already been verbally committed to their desired school for times ranging from several years to weeks, or even days. However, many high-profile recruits tend to hold out till Signing Day to make their college decision public.

Per usual, ESPNU will cover the event from start to finish, a total of 11 hours of coverage with several college decisions to be made on live television.

Most college football writers and fans have different opinions of Signing Day. Some enjoy the hype that surrounds the day and the excitement that comes along with it (mostly fans with Top 25 classes). Some think the entire charade is silly.

Sporting News writer Bill Bender published an article titled “Seven reasons to hate National Signing Day,” which includes a few humorous references to the cliche hat announcement, adult fans heckling recruits for not choosing their school, etc.

Although National Signing is often the beginning of the ongoing issue of over-hyping athletes before they even step foot on the campus, it isn’t the only culprit. In other words, college athletes can be over-hyped too.

The Oregon Ducks are currently in the market for a new quarterback after Heisman Trophy winner and former Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota opted for the 2015 NFL Draft. The leading candidate to replace him isn’t even enrolled at Oregon.

Vernon Adams, a 6-foot, 200-pound junior from Eastern Washington – an FCS school, was recently offered a scholarship by Oregon and plans to visit.

Adams, whose skill set matches what Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich values in a quarterback, passed for 3,483 yards and 35 touchdowns in 2014 at EWU, and would be eligible to play immediately for the Ducks – should he opt to transfer. However, one small problem remains: Nobody knows for certain if his game will transfer to major Division 1 competition. Adams’ skill set may very well translate nicely over to the 1-A level, but at this point it still remains an assumption.

A similar case can be made for Alabama quarterback Jacob Coker. Coker transferred to Alabama from Florida State before the start of the 2014 season, and was considered the favorite candidate to replace former Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron before he even left FSU. Coker was eventually beat out by senior Blake Sims for the starting job, and played sparingly last season.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban even went as far as to say that the hype surrounding Coker was “unfair.”

And just for good measure, some of the NFL’s top players were underrated coming out of high school. J.J. Watt and Russell Wilson were both two-star prospects out of high school.

So, is the hype surrounding National Signing Day too much? Maybe. Maybe not; that is if you’re an Alabama or Florida State fan.


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