I always had a peripheral interest in National Signing Day, mainly because my alma mater, Arizona State, rarely had a recruiting cycle that was enough to heighten my curiosity. That changed over the last couple of years thanks to a much improved product on the field which generated 18 wins over the last two seasons. In the months leading up to this year’s National Signing Day, I found myself reading House of Sparky, ASUDevils.com and other websites to learn more about potential targets and their respective backgrounds.
It was like a day trader keeping track of stocks or witnessing a high-roller at a lively craps table in Las Vegas. You’re literally riding the highs and lows of the mere prospect that a 4-star athlete will land at your school, in this case Tempe, Arizona. I can only imagine what it’s like for passionate fans in other parts of the country, where every decision feels dire to the fortunes of their programs. Some would say certain adults take the exuberance too far when it is, after all, 17 and 18 year-olds that we’re talking about, right?
It’s OK for them to be excited and even act goofy. They’re kids, but for the grown ups, it can get borderline creepy. Once again, the SEC proved to be the conference many recruits gravitated to this year topped off, of course by Alabama. This maybe Nick Saban’s best class yet and that’s saying something considering how they finished the season. Tennessee did well for itself, building quite a collection of talent in Knoxville. Heck, Kentucky’s work in the state of Ohio paid off. LSU showed that it could close strong under Les Miles. Out West, Steve Sarkisian was able to snag three top-notch players. Given his time frame and the way he did it by having them turn away UCLA, USC fans must be ecstatic. Oregon’s class underwhelmed, while Stanford reloaded with another strong crop of 4-stars.
As for ASU, a top 20 finish is all you can ask for given it’s lack of consistency in recent years. Todd Graham clearly has people buying into his plan. He has to. In this day in age, it’s not enough to just be bowl-eligible. You have to strive for a conference and national championship. That’s what makes National Signing Day a true reality show that’s impossible to turn off.