Recruiting

National Signing Day has morphed into shallow display

 

What happened to National Signing Day?

This isn’t the same day I remembered for over 40 years. It used to be an honor to put on a hat because you loved the school and there was a fit, from the city you were in to the classes you were taking.

Thanks to all the fan websites and the up-to-the-moment “in your face” kind of journalism, we are all now being held hostage by some 18-year-old who has yet to carry a football, make a tackle or kick a winning field goal.

What that first Wednesday used to mean is a few cameras at a school, some family members with a small party, and when you put that baseball cap on your head, you never wanted to take it off.

What has happened along the way in recruiting is some athletes are going to schools for the wrong reasons. Not to say that all don’t fall in love with a particular program, but schools that have had no presence in South Florida are suddenly creating a pipeline because of a coach — or two coaches.

How many times am I going to greet a parent and an athlete at some park, telling me they need help — after going away and finding that attending a school because of a coach was not the smartest thing to do?

I continue to tell everyone that coaches move on for one reason or another, so fall in love with the school, the city, the people, and not just a coach who has been spending the past 18 months with you and everyone you know. It’s tough, but at least you are picking the programs the way it used to be done.

As I watched this signing day unfold, South Florida was again the epicenter for high school football. No matter how many five-star standouts there were in Texas, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Georgia, it was this region of the state that seemed to get much of the attention. And in the middle of it all was the University of Miami.

Losing out on Denver Kirkland was perhaps a given since the misunderstanding took place between the Miami Booker T. Washington standout and the Hurricanes. Even though there was some talk, his departure was determined. Many thought he would head to FSU, but instead wound up at Arkansas — a place that has committed three Florida football players in 35 years.

Immediately after Kirkland announced, there was never any reason his teammate and The Miami Herald’s No. 1 prospect, Matthew Thomas, would choose Miami. He didn’t, and will head to FSU.

In a year when coach Al Golden and his staff were criticized for not being able to reel in the top Miami-Dade and Broward talent — although you can hardly call four marquee local players a negative — it was perhaps one of the elite players who could end up defining the program’s growth.

Stacy Coley was born to be a Hurricane. He dominated with the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes (South Florida Youth Football League) and for the past three years with the two-time district champion Oakland Park Northeast Hurricanes.

If we learned anything during this recruiting season, it is to communicate. When feelings are hurt, negative talk begins to snowball. But no matter what transpires, nobody will ever take away from all of us that we have the chance to see some of the best football players in the nation — 12 months a year.

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. All you have to do is send a YouTube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.

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