Signing Day: Five Quick Thoughts
DCTF's Greg Tepper offers five observations on National Signing Day in Texas.
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It’s National Signing Day, the culmination of the year in recruiting, and as you’d expect, the state of Texas has been busy, busy, busy. Between the 12 FBS schools, the six FCS schools, the dozens of schools in DII, DIII and NAIA, and – of course – the hundreds of high school players across Texas signing their National Letter of Intent, Texas has been a hive of activity all day.
Need to catch up? Check out our Signing Day HQ, which has so much information that I’m not sure it’s legal to give it all away.
So, what do we make of all this? We’ll have way, way more analysis both on TexasFootball.com and in our upcoming Recruiting Edition (available through the DCTF app, which you can download now), but for now, here are my five overarching thoughts on the day (so far).
1) It’s Been…Kind Of Boring
Don’t get me wrong: National Signing Day is exciting, what with the faxes flying and the speculation running rampant. But around these parts, things have pretty much gone without a major surprise. The vast majority of verbal commitments have held, and most of these classes are shaking out exactly as they looked like they would yesterday. The big Signing Day headlines, if there are any, include Lancaster DE Daeshon Hall flipping from Washington to Texas A&M (widely predicted), Alief Taylor LB Torrodney Prevot choosing Oregon, and Texas Tech grabbing a couple of players that TCU had in their sights. That’s…really about it. This isn’t to say it’s not an exciting day for everyone who signed a National Letter of Intent, but as far as drama is concerned, there hasn’t been much.
2) As Expected, It Was A&M’s Day
We knew coming into Signing Day that it would take some sort of major development for Texas A&M not to have the state’s best recruiting class. And…well, did you read No. 1? Starting around 7:30 this morning, it was a steady stream of faxes to the Aggie athletic department, sealing up what is one of the nation’s top classes. They even got some extra good news, as they nabbed highly sought Lancaster DE Daeshon Hall and got word that Southlake Carroll QB Kenny Hill would stick with the Aggies after taking official visits to both Baylor and Kansas State. If there’s one fly in the ointment, it’s that Alief Taylor LB Torrodney Prevot chose Oregon over A&M. But when that is the worst thing that happens to you, you’ve had a pretty darn good day.
3) Houston and Rice Make Late Pushes
It’s not that the Coogs and Owls had particularly bad classes as of about a week ago, but boy, did they improve since then. Houston managed to snag two outstanding athletes – Lancaster QB/ATH Demarcus Ayers and John Tyler DE Tyus Bowser – from Washington and Oklahoma State, respectively, and all of a sudden, the Coogs’ class looks way better. The same can be said for Rice, who managed to get arguably the star of the class – Mesquite Horn LB D.J. Green – late last week, and get his signature today. The rest of their classes are good (I like Greg Ward and Nomluis Fruge in Houston’s class, and Jowan Davis and Cole Hunt in Rice’s), but they grabbed some star power late.
4) Decisions, Decisions: Texas, Baylor or TCU?
Now that the classes are more-or-less in the books (there are a few stragglers, but nothing of a particular earth-shattering variety), there’s an interesting dilemma to sort.
Texas A&M is going to have the state’s No. 1 class; between the size and the quality of the Aggies’ haul, that’s not really up for debate. But from there, it’s really up for grabs for the No. 2 spot between Texas, Baylor and TCU.
Texas’ class probably has the highest-caliber recruits – especially with Jesuit WR Jake Oliver, Lake Highlands OL Kent Perkins and Cy Woods LB Deoundrei Davis – but it’s small. Like, really small. Fifteen players small. And don’t let anyone tell you that doesn’t matter, because it does. Have you ever seen a recruiting class in which 100% -- or even 70% -- of the signees make the starting lineup? Me either.
Over at Baylor, the class is of pretty good size (23 signees), but with only a couple of superstars, specifically Fort Worth Southwest WR Robbie Rhodes and Waco OL/DL Andrew Billings. The rest of the class is good (I particularly like Katy’s Kyle Fulks and Fort Bend Marshall’s Johnny Jefferson), but recruits Nos. 3-10 probably aren’t as strong as Texas’ recruits No. 3-10.
And then there’s TCU, which doesn’t have a ton of star power (Arlington Martin RB Kyle Hicks aside) and won’t get a lot of love from the major recruiting services, but has a lot of players the DCTF staff is very high on. Guys like East Bernard’s Ty Slanina, Frisco Centennial’s Ranthony Texada and Arlington’s Sammy Douglas may not move the needle nationally, but we’ve seen what they can do first-hand, and it’s potentially very special.
So, you have your choice: Texas’ small-but-mighty class, Baylor’s solid-if-middle-heavy class, or TCU’s average-but-potentially underrated class. Which do you choose?
5) The Power of Technology
Signing Day is a funny day in that it blends the old and the new. I’m not just talking about the new recruits coming to old universities, but also the technology used. Think about it: you’re reading this on a website on your computer or tablet or phone, and we utilized all sorts of social media (like our Twitter and Facebook) to get the word out about all the signings as they happen, and we’re able to interact to talk about all of these things instantaneously. And yet, this morning, almost every recruit had to fax their National Letter of Intent. That’s right: they used the fax machine. Pretty incredible that as far as we’ve come technologically – we’re mere hours after the start of Signing Day, and you already know who your favorite team signed – we’re still using something from “Saved By The Bell” to get it done.
Remember: we’ll have much, much more coverage of National Signing Day and recruiting in general in the coming days on TexasFootball.com, and be on the lookout next week for our exclusive Recruiting Edition of DCTF, available through our app!
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.