In a little less than two weeks, the reality that is National Signing Day will be upon us, which, among many other things, means one major thing: We'll all celebrate the dark, mucus-y underbelly of college athletics like it's a completely normal thing to do. Much will change between today and that day, but let's all take a second to get ready and review some of the developing storylines to keep a dark, mucus-y eye on:
Gunner Kiel, Live on Tour
It’s been reported that one of the nation’s best QBs, Gunner Kiel, is now officially enrolled at Notre Dame, after his mother preferred he end up in South Bend over LSU, where he committed about three weeks ago. This is after he decided to look around after committing to Indiana over the summer.
Really, though, it’s of no fault of Kiel’s to keep an open mind when the recruiting machine is so heavily slanted against players. It’s just funny to watch him break the hearts of millionaire coaches up and down this great land.
If for some reason he decides to leave Notre Dame (always on the table), the following possibilities are realistic:
• Another major school
• The NFL
• A school made up on a high school-based show like “Cal U” on Saved by the Bell
• A fish monger at Pike’s Market in Seattle
• Indiana again
Alabama, Friend to Everyone
The Tide sit at 27 verbal (non-binding) commitments at the time of publishing. They’ve already told one of those players that he’s perfectly welcome in Tuscaloosa…he just has to wait a year. At that point, he’ll be able to come in and immediately compete for the all-important job of being the guy Nick Saban chooses to be too injured to have his scholarship renewed. Oops.
Cal, School of Yesterday
After an eventful week at the Army All-American Bowl in which Cal netted a number of top players to add to an already impressive recruiting class, Bears defensive line coach and recruiting wizard Tosh Lupoi chased the cash and took a nearly parallel position at Washington. Normally, this type of movement would’ve caused a huge commotion, but Lupoi, a former Bears player himself, has been at the center of Cal’s (recruiting) renaissance, and a number of the school’s verbal commitments have begun to look elsewhere as a result.
Pay attention to the goings-on in Berkeley, Cal as they could very quickly go from an underperforming team to an understocked AND underperforming team. Stay tuned.
Florida, Land of Offensive Opportunity
The main reason for including the Gators here is the distinct possibility that some major offensive skill player chooses an orange and blue hat on February 1 with an explanation of, “I was going back and forth between Florida and [other school], but then Coach Weis left, which, honestly, was a pretty big relief.”
Make it happen!
Urban Meyer, Star Wrangler
Especially among top players who play positions along the defensive front, new Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and staff appear to be quite popular.
It’s unclear whether it’s his passion, commitment or history of winning at the highest level that’s ultimately convincing so many top kids that Meyer will still be around in four years. In any case, kudos on the sales job, sir.
New Coaches Out West, New Weird Assumptions
It’s always interesting to see how classes come together or fall apart when coaches come and go during the offseason and the recruiting cycle thereafter. Off the top of my head, count on QB and WR commitments at Washington State to be thought of highly, no matter their actual worth, QBs and RBs at Arizona will be considered to be “Steve Slaton-esque” or “a Tucson Pat White,” and anyone who signs with Arizona State will instantly be thought of as a potential transfer after a year. Just how it works.
The 6’6” WR is considered to be the best player to be entering college football this fall and he’s yet to make a decision as to where he’ll end up. He, much in the same way as previous No. 1 overall HS prospects before him, is built like he’s about to graduate from college, which, of course, isn’t very fair.
Tom Luginbill, Funnyman
ESPN’s recruiting expert typically does a bang-up job covering the national college football recruiting scene, but on Signing Day, when he’s in the ESPNU studio for around 17 hours, he starts to go a little crazy and cracks weird smiles when he compliments a recruit’s hips or his “ability to penetrate” for the 437th time. Pay attention, it gets weird around hour 15.