National Signing Day has come and gone and yet the madness continues. NSD has become almost as popular as the NFL Draft, especially for those of us who live in the South.
This is the day we find out (or at least we think we do) how good our teams may be in the future. We have networks devoting 10 hours of coverage on the subject, 18-year-olds having press conferences across the country, and fans going NUTS if a kid doesn’t go to his school.
Prime example is the coverage of two high school athletes—defensive end Jadaveon Clowney, and Cyrus Kouandjio, an offensive lineman from Maryland. These kids are considered the No. 1 and No. 2 prospects in the country, both are considering SEC schools and both are getting around the clock coverage on where they plan to go to school.
Kouandjio, who has a brother already at Alabama (Ari), was assume to be heading to play football with his brother at 'Bama, but he shocked all by picking Auburn. Right after that, he changed his mind. Now, the poor kid is being hounded not only by the schools mentioned, but apparently his family wasn’t thrilled with where he wanted to go either. Not to mention the pressure from fans of both schools and the media.
His reaction after he picked Auburn was of a guy who just lost his best friend. He didn’t look happy or sure of his choice, especially when the ESPNU reporter asked him how it would feel to play against his brother; you could tell he didn’t factor that in.
Clowney, on the other hand, looked more relaxed and sure of himself. He didn’t let ESPN cameras pressure him into making a choice that day. He said he will make a decision on February 14, which is also his birthday. Smart move.
The pressure for kids to commit has gotten way out of hand and I blame ALL of us. I blame the media for giving these kids the spotlight, giving them bigger heads then they already have. A lot of these kids make a show out of it by putting down one school for the other instead of just saying I’m attending school here.
Leave the dogs, the T-shirts and the hats at home. I blame the parents who just won’t let the kid make his OWN choices. One parent even had the nerve to forge and then fax her son’s Letter of Intent to the school SHE wanted him to go to when in actuality, he wanted to go to another school; how crazy is that?
The rumor surrounding the Kouandjio recruitment is that it’s his family that may have a say-so in where the kid is going and that’s why he has changed his mind. Either way it goes, this kid is catching hell from both sides.
But I especially blame the fans. I blame the fans for going on Twitter, Facebook and wherever else to put unnecessary pressure on these kids. There isn’t one particular fan base or another that I’m calling out. Nope, it’s ALL of you.
I read on a message board the other day how one particular SEC school fans was upset with ESPN because they didn’t get enough coverage and for saying their recruiting class was average, although this particular school had a top 20 class.
I read where another school is blaming the other for a kid flip flopping from their school to another school, not to mention I also read where a kid who committed to one SEC school said a member of the media tried to get him to go to another SEC school. That’s how crazy all of this has become.
But I don’t see this ending or even slowing down. As long as we in the media, families, and fan bases thirst for this kind coverage, this madness will continue.
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