We all have something that just gets under our skin. Whether it’s people who say “like” after every other word or individuals that put on way too much perfume, everyone has something that drives them up the wall.
Personally, I can’t stomach high school athletes who have egos the size of Texas.
So you can imagine why National Signing Day is comparable to nails scraping against a chalkboard for me.
While I respect those players who use National Signing Day as a time to commemorate their successful high school athletic careers with family, friends, and coaches, I detest those that use it as an opportunity to bring attention to themselves.
For example, on Feb. 2, Marcus Lattimore, one of the top recruits in the nation, announced his decision to play football for the South Carolina Gamecocks over the Auburn Tigers. And while I could not be happier for the Gamecock community, Lattimore is a prime example of a high school player whose ego needs to be taken down several notches.
Lattimore had been publicly contemplating his decision for months before choosing to broadcast it from his church. To add a certain dramatic affect that could rival Steven Spielberg’s, Lattimore had a former running back from Auburn, Stephen Davis, bring up a bag with the hat of Lattimore’s chosen school.
Oh, the suspense.
And then, in another plot twist, Lattimore pulls out an Auburn cap, but don’t get your hopes up yet because there’s really a South Carolina cap hidden beneath it, which Lattimore then places on his head. By this point, I’m speechless.
But wait, there’s more.
I guess Lattimore thought that he was going to be such an asset to whatever team he chose (even though the defenses he played against at Byrnes look like teddy bears compared to the defenses in the South Eastern Conference) that he felt the coaches should prove that their school is the right fit for him and not the other way around.
The result was three words that should never be used in the same sentence: Spurrier, cha-cha, and slide. Oh yes, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier did the cha-cha slide with Lattimore’s mother in an attempt to prove that the University of South Carolina was a perfect fit for Lattimore and his family.
Remember how I said this scenario was equivalent to nails scratching a chalkboard, well, I change my mind—the nails are a welcome alternative.
I mean, this whole show just seems unnecessary. What is so wrong with just announcing the decision to the coaches and family? With technology these days, anyone who really cared about Lattimore’s decision could probably find out within a matter of minutes, considering how high profile of a signing it was.
Take for example Central’s own DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins did not make a big show of his long-standing commitment to Clemson University, even though it is a program just as notable as South Carolina’s. Hopkins never wavered enough for any coach to feel the need to jump through hoops to receive his pledge. He made a decision and stuck to it.
On National Signing Day, Hopkins had a ceremony at his school before his family and friends. There wasn’t a show as Hopkins walked in wearing a Clemson hat.
If you ask me, that seems way less complicated than Lattimore’s performance.
But in the end, there’s no one to blame but the very society that condones the inflated egos of such athletes. It is the very people who sit on the couch and watch hours of ESPNU on Signing Day as high schoolers call press conferences under the assumption that so many people are dying to hear their decision.
And they’re right. People do care about recruiting. But, why? In the end, it is an entirely speculative ordeal. There is not a swami on the planet who can predict how a high school player will fair in the college game. How often do we see touted recruits disappoint because they just can’t handle the elevated style of play?
And it’s getting worse. Just last week, Southern California head coach Lane Kiffin received a commitment from a 13-year old quarterback. The kid hasn’t even seen high school playing time and Kiffin really has the gall to assume that he’s the next Tom Brady.
Sports fans across America are the only ones who can stop this growing atrocity. Please join my fight today in keeping egos to the maximum size of Tennessee. Texas is just too much for me to handle anymore.