Gatmo’s Grille

Published 2:12 pm Monday, February 7, 2011

We just witnessed another National Signing Day for future Collegiate Football Players and, after listening to every so-called expert in the land, who and what do you believe about your favorite player or school?

The NSD coverage has really exploded over the last few years and it seems everyone has jumped on the bandwagon. ESPN, for example, put in eight hours of “live” coverage on Wednesday and that coverage included two of the game’s best recruiters – former Miami coach Randy Shannon and Florida’s Urban Meyer-  in studio breaking down recruits.

Give the Four-Letter network credit they’re trying to capitalize on NSD very similar to the way they have with the NFL Draft and it maybe be working.

Rivals Radio is also a big player in the NSD sweepstakes as they dedicated nearly 12 hours of” live” coverage to the event on Sirius and XM Radio. They had interviews with a good portion of the nation’s coaches and all came on to basically give the same old song and dance message, like one them is going to come on and say, “Yeah we’re disappointed with this class.”

The common thread from all of these coaches is, “We’re extremely satisfied with our class, it meets our needs and we’re excited about these kids joining our program.”

Utilizing a star rating system, experts rate these high school kids and the number of star players a school can get to commit to their program, helps determine the school’s ranking on a national level. If a player receives a Five-Star rating he is considered one of the best in the land and only about 50 kids per year reach that lofty level.

The ACC, which has become somewhat of a laughing stock on the national landscape with their poor showing in the BCS games, had two schools gather in enough Five-Star players to get ranked within the Top 10. Some experts think Florida State had the best class in the country and Clemson shocked everyone with a late rush that gave the Tigers one of the nation’s best classes.

Does this mean automatic success, absolutely not, just ask Shannon. What it does is raise expectations for not only coaches, but for these young kids who are sometimes expected to be saviors of the program.

Rating and evaluating high school football players is far from an exact science. Unlike basketball where evaluators can judge kids playing against the best during the AAU season, football players are rated per their Spring Combine results, on field performance and coaches’ input. So the chance to misjudge a kid is much greater in football than it is in hoops.

A couple of notable misses were the two Super Bowl quarterbacks this past weekend. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers combined for exactly one Division I scholarship offer coming out of high school.

So why has National Signing Day become so big? Because a lot of us watch and listen intently as every expert makes us feel good about our school’s current recruiting class. Yes, we all fall prey to the hype and when it comes to the rankings and ratings, we the fans are the only ones that it really matters to.

A word to the wise, recruiting class rankings are never really realized until these kids play at least 2-3 years in college that is when you can actually believe your favorite expert or maybe become one yourself.

Thoughts or comments are welcomed at gattis@embarqmail, on Twitter at Gatmo or on my Facebook Talkin Sports page.