Signs of the times
"Hey, did you sign
Longtime Trojans sports information director
So when did signing day become a big deal to the casual fan? To figure it out, one must first examine the history of signing day itself.
Before Texas Tech government professor
That changed during the next few years as more conferences agreed to follow the rules of the NLI program, but an even more significant change came in 1972.
"The big part is instant gratification," said Little, now an assistant athletic director who serves as special assistant for communications to Longhorns coach
Still, recruiting remained the domain of diehards. Longtime Georgia sports information director
"There are people that come to signing day that I've seen for 20-25 years," Felton said. "They'll be here [Wednesday] at 7 or 7:30 [a.m.], waiting for the doors to open."
Now, they'll be joined by more casual fans. In Athens, Felton said, fans can take a Signing Day shuttle from The Blind Pig restaurant to Butts-Mehre, where they may get a chance to hear a few words about the class from Bulldogs coach
Prospects also have helped turn Signing Day into a major happening, but they may not realize they're following in the footsteps of players 30 years ago. When coaches were allowed unlimited contact with recruits, prospects would hold Signing Day press conferences with all the coaches recruiting them in attendance. Now, coaches watch from their offices as high school seniors toy with their emotions.
"That almost is a throwback to the days when they had all the coaches there," Little said. "[The players] are just using a different medium."
And while average college football fans will log on in record numbers Wednesday to learn the college choices of Jeannette (Pa.) quarterback
Some of those people may call the USC sports information office. And who knows? Maybe the person on the other end of the line answering a question about a future football star may have a bright future of his own.
"[Ferrell] parlayed that phone answering into ... what?" Tessalone cracked. "I'm not sure what he's doing now."