National signing day is a circus. A full-blown, Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey festival, filled with equal parts folly and foreshadowing.
A sea of grown adults watch as approximately 400 teenagers taunt them with hats and gloves, collectively controlling the landscape of college football.
It's insanity, but it is completely necessary insanity; that much has become evident. Once cast aside like the World Series of Poker, the recruiting scene is no longer a Star Trek convention full of outliers.
National Signing Day is the NFL Draft of college football—only the players pick the teams in what amounts to an altogether fascinating reversal of roles. A player's mother cannot object to his being drafted by the Buffalo Bills.
Shahid Khan cannot bag man his way to the next Cam Newton. There is an order and a predictability to the professional draft. For the amateur version? Mass chaos and fax machines. Nothing is impossible.
The science is hardly exact, but the days of grainy VHS tapes of an unknown quarterback from Neosho, Mo., are long, long gone. With each passing year, the amount of available information increases, the likelihood of an omission decreases, and the stars mean more and more.
Bret Bielema once voiced his displeasure with the "illegal" Southeastern Conference recruiting practices of Urban Meyer. An ironic complaint considering Bielema, hired as the Arkansas head coach just eight weeks prior to signing day, was forced to adapt quickly to the dog-eat-dog environment that engulfs the southern region of the country.
All things considered, however, he did so in admirable fashion, piecing together a semi-respectable class despite inheriting absolutely nothing from the John L. Smith regime. Had Alex Collins's mother not gone MIA with his letter of intent, the day could have easily been painted as downright successful. Without Collins in the fold, the bright side becomes a touch dim, but not impossible to identify.
Perhaps, the bleary glimmer of promise simply lies within the fact that Landon Collins's aunt was the only thing that stood in the way of an impressive last minute south Florida coup, thanks, in large part, to Randy Shannon and Charlie Partridge; an achievement that would seem to bode well for the Class of 2014.
In any event, here's a look at the good, bad and bizarre from a day filled with plenty of each.