National Signing Day swings and misses
Fumbles on National Signing Day? They happen.
UCLA’s failure to inform Roquan Smith of a possible defensive coordinator departure: One of many live announcements on signing day, this four-star linebacker and Georgia target sat at a table and had a friend pick up namecards of colleges in pursuit of his signature. When it was down to the final two, Georgia and UCLA, Smith raised his hands in the air to reveal Bruins gloves. By mid-afternoon, he still hadn’t sent in his letter of intent and eventually reopened his recruitment, admitting his heart was with the Bulldogs and that he felt pressured to decide. The real reason though? Defensive coordinator and Smith’s primary recruiter Jeff Ulbrich was linked to a job opening in the NFL. Fox Sports has reported it’s a done deal. Smith’s recruiting saga continues.
Bobby Petrino’s handling of Matt Colburn’s recruitment: It’s become a national news story, so it bears repeating: South Carolina high school football coach Tom Knotts barring Louisville from recruiting any players at Dutch Fork High. The Palmetto State’s Mr. Football, a three-star running back, was committed to the Cardinals for eight months before his offer was yanked on Monday in favor of another player. Colburn, in limbo, is now deciding between Georgia Southern and Wake Forest. Petrino’s reputation continues to deteriorate.
ESPNU’s day-long coverage wasn’t as strong as years past: In the social media age, news breaks before it hits television and the Worldwide Leader was late to the party on several developments throughout the day, notably Byron Cowart’s situation with Auburn. The network sent on-site reporters to 16 different programs across the country but experienced technical difficulties several times, notably during live shots from Gainesville. It wasn’t a total fail, but Twitter was the real winner on Wednesday.
The prevalence of grayshirts + blueshirts: Longtime Auburn commit Elijah Sullivan, one of several incoming SEC players on signing day or the final stretch leading up to Wednesday who was asked to grayshirt, decided to sign with Kansas State instead. Alabama defensive end Christian Bell agreed to Nick Saban’s grayshirt request. Grayshirts (players who sign but enroll at a later date to avoid the NCAA eligibility clock from beginning) are a product of oversigning and sometimes, re-evaluating commits after a coaching switch. Former Arkansas defensive tackle Darius Philon was asked to grayshirt as an Alabama commit in 2012, but refused and chose the Razorbacks. It worked out for the projected 2015 early-round pick. A blueshirt is a relatively new term associated with a player who doesn’t count toward the current scholarship signing class (but does the following season) being eligible to enroll and play immediately as long as he has not been recruited by the school.