Thursday, February 7, 2008

Signing Day Wrap-up

Yesterday was one of the biggest days on the college football schedule. So much happened on signing day that its time to catch up on the course of events, and look at what it means for the future of college football. Here's 5 important observations from Signing Day.

1. Southern football keeps getting stronger and stronger. With 3 teams from the ACC and 4 teams from the SEC in the top 12 of both the Scouts.Inc and ratings, the southern teams just keep on reloading at the expense of the rest of the nation. SEC lynchpins Florida, Georgia and LSU are joined by Nick Saban's Alabama, and Clemson joins FSU and Miami among the best recruiting classes in the nation. Half of the SEC teams were in the Top 25 recruiting classes, and that doesn't even count a Tennesee team who had a top-3 class last year and an Arkansas squad who went through a tough coaching change.

2. The usual suspects stay near the top. While in some years there will be a shock team that rises to near the top of the standings, this year reads like a who's who of recent college powerhouses. Successful teams like USC, Texas and Ohio State are proving that they aren't going to just be good this year, but will still have the foundation to be consistently excellent for years down the line.

3. The big coaching changes did not affect recruiting as much as some believed. Look around the country and you'll see that Michigan still put together a solid class under Rich Rodriguez including stealing some big time players away from fellow Big 10 members Penn State and Purdue on signing day. UCLA under Rick Neuheisel also maintained their solid class and look like they could start challenging USC for the prime-time SoCal talent. Even Bobby Petrino at Arkansas put together a good class in spite of his damaged reputation, including getting 4-star recruit Joe Adams to switch from USC to Arkansas. Along with Ryan Mallett next year, the Hogs may have the scariest offense in the SEC west.

4. Terrelle Pryor is full of himself. By postponing his decision it makes him look like an extremely selfish player. If he was so distracted by basketball, why didnt he tell the schools recruiting him to back off a little more and let him worry about his decision after the season. While Pryor may in fact be the real deal, he's doing a great job of supplanting Jimmy Clausen as recruiting douchebag of the year. Swole's prediction? He'll still end up at Ohio State whenever he makes up his mind.

5. The Big 12 is possibly on its way back to its glory days in the mid to late 1990's. We all know Texas and Oklahoma are going nowhere, but now some of the other schools are catching up. Missouri added the heir apparent to Chase Daniel in Blaine Gabbert, Colorado added top running back Darrell Scott, and Kansas State and Nebraska and Kansas all put together solid recruiting efforts. With all these schools on the upswing, and Big 12 South schools Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and OK State also appearing more competitive, this could be the toughest the conference has been from top to bottom in over a decade.

While Signing Day is mostly a prospective event, it is important to note that you do need the best players to win. While some top prospects won't pan out and diamonds in the rough will emerge, the teams with the deepest classes from top to bottom will be the ones that continue to stay near the top of the polls. Here are 5 early predictions based on yesterday's outcome:

1. Miami's defense will be stifling in a very short time. By locking up that Miami area talent, Randy Shannon will have the players needed to turn The U into the intimidating team it was under Butch Davis. And if either Robert Marve or Jacory Harris can be a solid QB, Miami is going to be top-5 very soon.

2. The Big 10 and Pac 10 will remain very top heavy. Both conferences certainly have their share of teams near the top of the recruiting standings, but the lesser teams are not even close to matching the top squads like USC and Oregon in the Pac-10 and UM, Illinois and Ohio State in the Big 10. This means the talent gap between these teams and the rest is only getting wider which will make their road to the BCS title even easier.

3. Look for the wide receivers to have the most immediate impact out of any position. Julio Jones will give Alabama a perfect replacement for DJ Hall and AJ Green is stepping into a loaded offense at UGA. Other immediate contributors could include Josh Jarboe at Oklahoma and Carl Moore at Florida who will both have experienced signal callers to get them the ball.

4. Terrelle Pryor will do nothing next year. Even the best of the freshmen qb's take a while to adjust to college ball. Tim Tebow didn't throw it hardly at all his freshmen year. Jimmy Clausen was ass on a sandwich. Its simply too much to ask of any QB recruit to come in their freshmen year and be successful.

5. Charlie Weis will continue to get the least out of his talented players because he spends too much time eating and thinking about how great he thinks he is.

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