National Signing Day: The South’s strangest holiday

Posted on Feb 2 2016 - 9:41am by Brian Scott Rippee

It’s February and the holiday season is in full swing. We are on the eve of the biggest holiday of the month. A day filled with love, hatred, happiness and sadness all packed into an eventful 24 hours. No, it’s not Valentine’s Day; it’s National Signing Day.

Social media and television have turned the first Wednesday of February into an all-day affair filled with controversy and lynchpin decisions that send college football fans into a state of euphoria — or, sometimes, a panicked and angry frenzy.

It has become a national holiday recognized by most in the college football world. A day in which workplaces are compromised by an 18-year-old kid announcing where he will attend college on national television, or in some cases, people skipping work all together. You know, kind of like a real holiday, except it’s not.

A day that is the culmination of a recruiting season that sees fans, some of whom are adults, contacting these prospects via social media, and telling them why they should choose school A over school B.

In most situations, an adult telling a kid which uniform colors he would look best in would be viewed, at the very least, as frowned upon, and just plain creepy; however, during recruiting season, it’s all just part of it. Man, this holiday is beginning to sound a little weird.

It’s a day that will leave reporters weary and relieved that it has passed, just as it will leave the keyed-up fans in their Twitter mentions celebrating, analyzing, venting and, most of all, counting down to kickoff next August.

National signing day has a bit of a Christmas morning feel to it for a lot of college football fanatics, except that the presents come in the form of stars and blue chip prospects. Instead of gathering around the Christmas tree, fans will gather around their TV to see what the day has in store.

Hundreds of kids will instantly become the next household name because they signed with your school. More will become the biggest bust since the last time a kid signed with your rival school instead of yours.

There will be flips and de-commitments. There will be indecisiveness and conflicting reports. There will be angry parents and confused coaches. It’s all part of the fun and drama that makes this day so unique.

Some schools will fall in the recruiting rankings, and others will rise. There will be winners and losers despite no game being played, because the battle off of the field is sometimes as fierce as the one on the field. Recruiting is the lifeblood of college football programs and signing day gets the blood pressure up among many across the country.

So as the madness unfolds tomorrow, Happy National signing day to all, and to all a good night.