8 Things You Need to Know About National Signing Day 2013

Randy ChambersAnalyst IFebruary 4, 2013

8 Things You Need to Know About National Signing Day 2013

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    National signing day 2013 is here, and the college football world will soon be turned upside down.

    The action gets started Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. EST with the nation's No. 1 recruit DE Robert Nkemdiche announcing from Grayson High School in Loganville, Georgia.  

    You can catch all the action (11 hours worth) on ESPNU.  

    The network will air 17 commitments live across the country and former SEC head coaches Gene Chizik and Derek Dooley will be among the commentators.  

    There will also be live look-ins with reporters on campus at 13 of the top programs in the country.  

    Every recruit in the country will have a chance to announce where he is going to school, and the future of each program could be decided by just a handful of kids who have yet to play a snap at the collegiate level.

    All of the interviews, pitches, visits and offers thrown on the table have come down to this big day. Recruits will finally be able to make their decisions official, and fans of each team will be able to breathe, knowing what the future looks like. 

    There is a lot that goes into this big day, and there are many things you should be prepared for once it arrives.

    Here are 10 things that will take place on national signing day that you need to know.

What Is National Signing Day?

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    Why not start off with the basics?

    National signing day is the first day that high school recruits can sign letters of intent and make their college selections official. Up until this point, every commitment that you have heard throughout the year has been nothing but a verbal agreement and hasn't meant much.

    This is also the day where every college football writer turns into a creep. We all huddle around the television and watch religiously, trying to find out where teenaged kids are going to go to school. It is really a weird concept when you sit back and think about it.

    Still, national signing day brings us all together and gives college football fans something to think about during the lengthy offseason.

At Least One Team Will Come out of Nowhere

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    Everybody knows that the top schools in the country will continue to recruit well. The big programs such as Alabama, Florida, Ohio State and Michigan always bring in a handful of elite recruits at this time of year.

    However, national signing day is also when at least one program comes out of nowhere and makes a splash.

    A team that almost nobody paid attention to ends up snagging a few big-time recruits who were expected to go somewhere else.

    Washington could possibly be this team, with 5-star DT Eddie Vanderdoes considering the Huskies. Penn State could continue to pick up a few solid recruits to improve its already surprising recruiting class. Even a school such as South Florida could turn some heads with a commitment from 4-star wide receiver Stacy Coley.

    This is one of the things guaranteed to happen, and it will be fun trying to predict which school shocks us the most in 2013.

There Will Be Many Surprises

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    Besides the props and the possibility of another recruit bringing a live animal to his announcement, there will be several recruits who had the entire college football landscape fooled.

    You have likely heard that Robert Nkemdiche is a lock to go to Ole Miss, but other teams such as Florida and LSU are in the mix. Eddie Vanderdoes could in fact turn down his West Coast schools and team up with Nick Saban down in Tuscaloosa.

    Nothing ever goes as planned on national signing day, and we have seen recruits in the past turn down schools such as Notre Dame and Alabama for a non-BCS school like Houston.

    No matter what the recruits or the experts may tell you, everybody has a shot once this day arrives on the calendar.

The Little Guys Will Make Major Noise

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    As mentioned before, the big boys are always going to fare well during the recruiting process. However, times are slowly changing, and it is now cool to go to a program that was usually avoided at all costs.

    According to the 247Sports team rankings at this very moment, teams such as UCLA, Ole Miss and even Penn State are in the Top 25. If you want to really fall out of your chair, Virginia, Baylor and Vanderbilt ranked in the Top 32.

    Going to some of the little programs and watching success being built from the ground up has now become the trend among top recruits. It is no longer just LSU and Alabama fighting for that No. 1 recruit. Ole Miss and Louisville have to be considered contenders as well.

    This shouldn't be a huge factor with schools like Notre Dame and Ohio State, but it is nice seeing some of the little guys get some love at this time of year.

The SEC Will Remain on Top

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    With all of that said about the smaller programs, you should expect the SEC to continue to dominate this recruiting season. In fact, with a couple of teams in the conference stepping their game up, the SEC has hit another gear in 2013.

    According to 247Sports, five teams in the Top 10 are from the SEC. This does not include Ole Miss at No. 11, Auburn at No. 17, South Carolina at No. 20 and Mississippi State at No. 24.

    If you aren't very good at math, that is nine of the 14 SEC schools with a Top 25 recruiting class at the moment—and with Robert Nkemdiche, Montravius Adams and Laremy Tunsil considering schools in this conference, the dominance will likely continue.

    It remains the SEC's world. Everybody else is just living in it.

Coaches Won't Admit Disappointment

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    Throughout the day, you will hear head coaches being interviewed. They will be asked about their thoughts on players and what they think the success rate is when it comes to the group of guys who picked their school.

    No matter how much better the class could have been, coaches will never admit that they are disappointed. Instead, you will hear guys say how wonderful they think their class is and all of the great things they expect in the coming years.

    Forget the fact that recruits were jumping off the ledge at the last second and left for a conference rival. "I'm very pleased with what we did" is going to be the popular answer. Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone told thenewshouse.com he was pleased with a class ranked 75th nationally in 2011, according to Rivals.

    Look, nobody knows for sure which players are going to pan out and which ones will be busts, but not every team hits home runs when it comes to the recruiting process. Like everything, there are going to be winners and losers on this big day.

ESPNU Should Be the TV Station of Choice

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    So where can you hear these coaches speak and the recruits make their important announcements?

    ESPNU, of course!

    The station has actually expanded its coverage for the eighth consecutive year and will be live at several of the top programs, including Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame and Florida State.

    Some of the elite prospects who will make their announcements on this station are Robert Nkemdiche, Laremy Tunsil, Matthew Thomas and Montravius Adams. For the complete list of players and announcement times, click here.

    Similar to March Madness, this is one of those days that you may want to call in sick.

Not Official Until Pen Hits the Paper

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    I've said it before, but I'll remind you one more time: Absolutely nothing is official until you see the pen in the recruit's hand and he is putting fresh ink on the paper.

    Don't tell me what a player has said or what a reporter has heard from his sources. There isn't anybody who knows what these players are truly feeling, and as long as an offer remains on the table, a recruit can end up absolutely anywhere.

    All of the months of coverage haven’t meant much leading up to the big day. It all becomes official once the recruit writes his name on the dotted line and is actually ready to make his announcement official.

    Until then, it is anybody’s game, and everybody must remember that.

    Let the fun begin.