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Things to know with Signing Day around the corner

Published 10:29am Friday, January 31, 2014

The first Wednesday in February always brings out the best – and sometimes the worst – in me.
It is the day college football coaches around the country take a lot of stomach medicine, keep their cell phones on stun and stand by the fax machines awaiting those precious signed letters of intent (L.O.I) from recruits.
It is hold your breath time and hope you can fire up a victory cigar at the end of the day. There will be committed kids sticking to their word and faxing in their L.O.I, then there will be the always wonderful three minutes of fame, with the recruit doing his best impression of follow the hat on national television, then picking the hat that represents the school he will attend.
“I will be playing football the next four years at (fill in the blank here),” then the music plays, representing that schools fight song. Somewhere out there in la-la land, a coach exhales while others head toward the toilet or the bar.
There will be kids who decide to change their commitment, which they gave days, months or in some cases a year or so ago.
Then there will be the kid who says he wants to go to a certain school, when his parents say otherwise. I like the drama that unfolds every year with the battle between the kid and the parent.
I really find it amazing when a kid commits on national television, and the camera pans over to the disgruntled parent. Then the soap opera begins.
Did I mention that about 20 percent of these kids never get to the practice field, let alone the classroom?  They find out that making it through the NCAA Clearinghouse is far different than being admitted into certain universities. It’s called minimum entrance criteria, and  unfortunately, some of these kids just can’t handle the grades.
There are certain schools that notoriously over-sign recruits with the understanding that some may need to sit out, not enter their college choice until the following year and that is called a “gray shirt”.
Then you have schools that will sign kids, keep them around for a while, and then tell them that there is no place for them later on.
Note: If Alabama continues on their current path, they will need to find 11 kids a spot, or release 11 current players who have not earned their degree.  They call it a “purging of underperforming players.”
UA lost 19 players for various reasons, and it is on track to sign at least 27, plus the Tide signed ex-FSU quarterback Jacob Coker so that makes 11 spots they must find.
Remember, the magic number is 85 scholarships.
With Alabama obtaining a commitment from five-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey Wednesday, that brings the Crimson Tide to 25 commitments. The Crimson Tide has eight recruits already enrolled, so they are locked in.
If five-star defensive tackle Matt Elam chooses Alabama today at noon EST, it will send Bama into over signing land again.
It’s down to Alabama and Kentucky for the Bluegrass State prospect.
Alabama is still targeting Rashaan Evans, Damian Mama and others. I predict Evans will sign with Auburn, and Mama will sign with USC (Trojans). There is an outside chance the Tide will land wide receiver Ermon Lane, but I feel he signs with Florida State.
Auburn is sitting with 20 commits, but the one recruit I would be watching is five-star running back Roc Thomas. Recently, Bama’s new offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin visited Thomas and his family. The Tigers have five who have early enrolled.
One thing everyone must understand is that there is no recruiting champion. Any notion that there is a champion for the top recruiting class is just plain ridiculous.
It is, at best a mythical number, and when the dust clears, it is not about how many you sign; it is all about the quality of the kids you are bringing in.
It does not matter how many stars the kid is rated, because most of the time the ratings are objective, based upon the individual rating the athlete. The sites with the most involvement are ESPNU, 247Sports, Rivals.com and Scout.com.
I will have a complete breakdown of SEC recruiting class next week. Next Wednesday, beginning at 8 a.m., I will be posting live updates from around the country on Twitter and Facebook.
Until next time …
Meyers is a sports columnist for The Outlook. You can follow him on Twitter at @brucemeyers11.

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