Consider this: For the truly hard core fan, it seems as though National Signing Day (NSD) has finally and officlally replaced the National Championship Game as the most watched, blogged and talked about event in college sports.
Luckily for UM. Canes' Head Coach Randy Shannon has proven to be a Zen Master of recruiting. Shannon is to the recruiting game as Bobby Fischer was to the game of chess. His moves are subtle, but effective and convincing.
Shannon more often than not get's his man, as evidenced by his masterful recruiting of top ranked recruit Brandon Harris (seen above at the FHSAA Championship game) last year.
With the support of assistant coaches and recruiting gurus like Clint Hurtt, Michael Barrow, Jeff Stoutland and several others behind the scenes, Shannon nailed his first #1 class last year. The Boss cleaned up in the talent rich 305 with a handful of players from Miami Northwestern High School including freshmen starters QB Jacory Harris, LB Sean Spence and DT Marcus Forston (seen here).
Those players along with several studs from Booker T. Washington High School and Kansas LB Arthur Brown, the top rated LB in the Country, propelled Miami to the #1 ranking from ESPN last year.
Sites like Rivals, Scout and others make a full time living off of chasing around and covering the decisions of 18 year old kids on NSD. Every stat, every play, every highlight reel is disected over and over again by the "experts". Five star or three star? ESPN top 150 or Rivals 100? God I gotta know!
The "Hat Game" has elevated the recruiting decision making process to a all new level of suspense and drama. Recruiting spin moves, the art of misdirection and last minute switches all generate extensive reporting, hot news and lead to tremendous upheavel for one team's fans and pure pleasure for another.
Last year, CB Patrick Johnson (now Peterson), was considered a Canes "lock", and on NSD, picked LSU. This year, Bryce Brown the top rated recruit in the Country, who verbally committed early on to Miami (the team his brother Arthur plays on), has been rumored to possibly wind up all the way across the Country in Oregon.
While we think Bryce winds up being a Hurricane in the end, he has already told the nation that he has decided to wait until after NSD to make his choice just so his announcement gets even more attention than all others. His "handler" (everybody needs one don't they?), some guy named Butler, is giving Brown The Younger "advice" while trying to make money from the decision making process.
NSD is known to have made grown men have stake out college campuses, player's homes and other locations in hope of getting a "sighting" or to get the insider info that everyone covets. Everyone who is anyone and has access to the Internet HAS to be the first to know who is going where. Some fans pay a fair amount of their good, hard earned money to multiple sites to get the news FIRST!
And forget good quality, in-depth reporting. Nothing sells memberships like good 'ol recruiting! Several of the web site reporters and insiders have told me off the record that recruiting features get five times as many hits as any other article on a current or former player. Go figure.
In other words, former UM super star, 2001 national champion and current NFL pro-bowler Andre Johnson stands absolutely no chance against high school senior Andre Dubose (seen here at the UA All American Game in Orlando), who hasn't even played a single down of college football, if the prep star decided to take a "surprise" visit to UM with teammates Dyron Dye and Ray Ray Armstrong and pull of the old "hat trick" on NSD.
You see, in this high-speed Internet age where news is only actually "news" for about five minutes, our sports heroes become Mr. Yesterday as soon as they spike the ball in the end zone to win the game.
The questions everyone really wants to know the answers to are: "Who is the NEXT great one?" and "Who is he going to sign with?" Funny thing is once he does, he too becomes Mr. Yesterday...