National Champions

National Champions

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What Signing Day Is…Or Should Be

By Scott Rhymer

By the time many of you read this, the fax machines (do they still fax those letters of intent?) will be humming and the drama will be unfolding.

Signing Day 2012 is upon us. And most of us will be thankful that it is finally over.

Signing Day is a special day for these players, their families, their high schools, and their high school coaches. It is a sense of relief for Clemson’s coaching staff.

But the added drama that has been injected into Signing Day over the last 15 years has taken a turn for the worse for the average college football fan. What Signing Day is now is not what is should be.

Clemson will sign somewhere around 20 young men today. These student athletes will make the best decision of their lives when they sign with Clemson. It may not be the best football decision they could make, but it will be the best decision of their lives to become a member of the Clemson family.

Many players make the decision based only on the football side of things. The reality of that is Johnny 5 Star is sometimes not as good as Johnny 3 Star and they both play the same position. Therefore, by fate, Johnny 5 Star never amounts to his potential at a particular school.

So of the thousands that will choose a school today based on simply football, many will turn out to be disappointments to themselves.

But for those that chose Clemson because of Clemson, that decision will never go wrong. As we all know, there is something special in these hills and it is an exciting moment to welcome those that come through that door today. We know what they are about to experience because we have been a part of that experience.

Of the young men that will sign with us today, most made that decision many weeks and months ago because they realized how special Clemson is. Yet today, when their names come across the wire as signed and delivered, we will simply give them a “golf clap”.

The “standing ovations” and “dramatic meltdowns” will be reserved for those that will use today as their pulpit of attention. That is what, in some cases, Signing Day has become. The shame of that is the mere fact that all of today’s drama detracts away from the kids and families that made a solid decision and commitment before today and become an afterthought because of it.

The 20 that are verbally committed to Clemson as of yesterday ought to be the ones that get the “standing ovations” today. They are the ones that saw how special Clemson was when they came to visit the campus and spoke to the coaches and athletic administration. These young men do not need drama or self promotion to validate their decision. All they need is a pen and a fax machine.

And for that, they are what Clemson is all about. And for that, they deserve the accolades today.

But I fear the college football fan will once again allow themselves to be hooked on the line of drama, and the attention today will be on the fish that were caught at the last minute or the ones that got away and chose another school. The “standing ovations” will go to those last minute Tiger signees. The “dramatic meltdowns” will go to those that put on an opposing team’s hat today.

All the while, our 20 commits who receive their “golf claps” will become second page news. And that is a shame. That is what Signing Day is , but it is not what Signing Day should be.

So I dedicate this blog today to those of you that understood early how special Clemson is. We welcome you to Clemson, not with a “golf clap”, but with a “standing ovation”. You are about to embark on a special journey on and off the football field that will leave you with the memories of Clemson for the rest of your life. Here's to you!

Josh Brown, Carlos Watkins, Marty Williams, Jay Jay McCullough, Oliver Jones, Javarius Leamon, Martin Aiken, Zac Brooks, TJ Burrell, Chad Kelly, Bradley Pinion, Travis Blanks, Ronald Geohaghan, Cordrea Tankersley, Patrick Destefano, Germone Hopper, Shaq Lawson, Jay Guillermo, Kevin Dodd, and Isaiah Battle.