Monday, January 31, 2011

Signing Day: One of the best in sports

WR Malcolm Eugene (8) is signed and enrolled at Temple now.

Phil Knight, the Nike CEO, will tell you National Football Signing Day (that's tomorrow) is his favorite sports day of the year.
He's a big Oregon football fan.
Knight will be glued to his television tomorrow for all-day coverage on ESPNU (9 a.m.-7 p.m) of signing day.
I'll probably pass on the coverage (unless it's on in my gym), but it's one of my favorite sports days, too, right there with opening day of baseball and the first Owl kickoff of the year and, yes, the first Thursday of the NCAA basketball tournament.
(I hear that's Rick Neuheisel's favorite day.)
Signing Day means more to me than Super Bowl Sunday because I have no rooting interest in either team on that day, but signing day I have rooting interest in just one team.
Signing Day gets me pretty pumped up because I get to see a good portion of the football talent coming to Temple for the first time.

ESPNU's coverage of signing day starts at 9 a.m.
I'll be the first to tell you I'm not a recruiting expert.
Having covered high school football for 35 years (since I was a 17-year-old kid who found out I couldn't play as well as I wanted to), I know one thing for sure.
I know the kind of player I like.
I like a kid who overachieves. (Give me a 6-1, 200-pound Dick Beck at center, who became captain of a 7-4 Temple team and pancaked everyone in sight over a 6-3, 240-pound guy who only plays when he feels like it.)
I like a kid who is tough.
I like a kid who makes plays. (I'm thinking Adam DiMichele with 38 seconds left in the Buffalo game, who scrambled and bought just enough time to hit Bruce Francis for what should have been the game-winning score.)
I like a kid who is a leader. (I'm thinking center Donny Klein in the 2002 Rutgers game who threw his helmet down and dropped 47 f-bombs in a halftime speech when down, 17-3, saying, "I never f-ing lost to f-ing Rutgers in my f-ing life and I'm not about to start f-ing now ..." All Klein did was clear the way for Tanardo Sharps to gain 215 yards on 43 carries in the mud in a 20-17 win.)
I like a kid who is a gamer.
I'm a hard marker.
There are very few Temple players who have all of those qualities.
In short, I like a kid like Henry Hynoski from the 70s, Dick Beck, Matty Baker and Tim Riordan from (mostly) the 80s, Tanardo Sharps, Donny Klein, Alex Derenthal, Adrian Robinson, and Adam DiMichele from the 00s.
There are more, certainly, that fit the mold and some of them will be joining the Temple Football Family today and tomorrow.
If you get enough of those kids, you can win.
Indications are that Steve Addazio grabbed a few of those kids with this class. This won't be the class we judge Addazio on because in college football today you need more than a month to get organized. There are a couple of names of kids who haven't yet committed, but whose names I'd really like to see on the dotted line tomorrow: Desmond Blue (a safety) and Jared Williams (a running back), both from Florida. Both would fill immediate needs at Temple. The other high school guys might be candidates for redshirts.
What he needs to find, right now, is some gamers and some overachievers because the one thing about this class is that there aren't a whole lot of five-star recruits knocking down Temple's door.
What we don't know, right now, is if he's got enough of those kids.
I like what I see in the film on a lot of these kids, especially quarterbacks Clinton Grainger and Jalen Fitzpatrick, but film can be deceiving.
What is it my friend, Sal, said a couple of years ago at one of Al Golden's signing parties?
"On signing day film, they all look like they should have gone to USC," Sal said.
He's right.
It's a day to get pumped up, but we will have to wait some time down the road to see if they are the kind of players you and I like.