I used to despise signing day and everything that had to do with it. You never know how guys are going to project, so what's the point of getting so excited?
But then I read "Three and Out," John U. Bacon's behind-the-scenes look at Rich Rodriguez's Michigan program. Then I really realized how much the day meant to coaches. Coaches who miss out on so much time with their families, looking to find players who can help them keep their jobs.
Mark Dantonio and the Spartan coaching staff aren't in that position. They've built a program over five years. They obviously want the best players, but they don't need a a freshman to come in and fill a starting spot right away. MSU has found success thanks to three-star recruits like Greg Jones, Kirk Cousins, Joel Foreman and Jerel Worthy. But success also has come thanks to bigger recruits like Will Gholston. Last season, Taiwan Jones and Matt Giampapa were the only true freshmen who played for MSU, a sign of depth within the program.
Some think recruiting is the most important thing in college football. Why else do Notre Dame and Florida State contend for the national championship every year? Of course if you're a top recruiting team, it's probably going to lead to success. But you never know which kids are the ones that will get you there. While Dantonio built MSU's program on developing decent recruits, Ron Zook was known for not getting the most out of his top classes at Florida and Illinois. So there are different paths to success.
Today is the day when all those kids and coaches who kept their word are rewarded. Coaches totally didn't cheat or try to do anything questionable, like offering a girlfriend a job (that's actually legal). That one school who you wonder how they recruit so well, they're probably selling great academics to players. I hope you can read that sarcasm in this paragraph. I know he was a transfer, but remember how Cam Newton was shopped to teams by his father? That's recruiting.
But even I put out hats on my bed when I was a high school senior. I wasn't an athlete, but it's fun to do. I don't blame these kids for trying to get as much media attention as possible. We enable them.
If you're an MSU fan, you can be excited. This is a pretty good class. It's small class because MSU didn't have as many scholarships to give out, which is because of a lack of attrition, which is a good thing. But if someone tells you "this player is going to be a game-changer," don't buy it. No one knows. These guys are always the best on their high school teams. College is a different game. Remember Antonio Jeremiah? The Big Ten recruiting game has changed as well. Urban Meyer brought his SEC attitude to the midwest, stole a bunch of recruits and upset a lot of coaches including Pat Narduzzi. After maybe being caught off-guard early, MSU finished strong with this class.
Per ESPN, MSU has been offering four-year scholarships to recruits, as opposed to one-year renewable scholarships, which is good to hear. The Big Ten has been pushing for schools to do this, so kids can't be unfairly cut, so to speak. Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio State also are doing this.
I don't know as much about MSU's recruits as others, so I'll link to others' profiles on the players. For highlights, check out The Little Brother Blog. For some free info on the players, check out A Beautiful Day for Football.
Wide receiver Kyle Kerrick has already enrolled at MSU. Here are his Rivals and Scout profiles.
Here is the list of which players MSU has received letters of intent, via the MSU football twitter feed.
I'll have my thoughts on the class tomorrow.
Members of the Michigan State coaching staff began arriving at 4:45 a.m. in preparation for National Letter of Intent Signing Day. #MSUNLI
7:01 a.m.: Benny McGowan, OL, 6-4, 290, Centerville, Ohio (Centerville) #MSUNLI
|Pat Narduzzi talks to Benny McGowan (via @MSU_Football)|
|Happy Mark Dantonio is happy he got |
Ezra Robinson (via @MSU_Football)