Commentary: On National Signing Day, I applaud simplicity and humility

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I feel blessed to be in this position tonight. I want to thank all my friends and family, and everyone who’s supported me. I want to thank all the teams who offered interviews. But after a lot of thoughtful consideration and sleepless nights, tonight, it’s my honor to announce that we’ll be sitting down with......Mariners manager Scott Servais.

And while that interview is coming up, I now officially look as ridiculous with this M's Beard Hat as some of the televised college football commitments we’ll see on National Signing Day this Wednesday.

I’m not arguing that recruiting itself is of the utmost importance to schools across the country. It absolutely is. Nor am I arguing that top recruits deserve some attention, upon announcing their college choice. In fact, I love that schools host signing day ceremonies to honor all their student athletes – that’s great for the local community as a whole.

But it’s my opinion that these nationally televised commitment ceremonies, which continue to get bigger and flashier every year, are unnecessary and overblown.

Yes, the media is to blame for the increased attention, thanks to the emergence of social media and round-the-clock coverage on prominent sports cable stations.

But at the end of the day, we’re talking about HIGH SCHOOL KIDS: teenagers who haven’t accomplished a single thing at the college level.

Talk about stroking a 17-year-old’s ego – and exposing them to an even greater sense of entitlement. Maybe I’m just old school, but I find it ridiculous when a college staff has to tune into ESPN or another outlet to find out whether a top recruit is choosing them: “Hi, we’re Alabama. We’ve won four national titles in the last seven years, but we’re all gonna get together in a meeting room at 10am Wednesday to see if that five-star linebacker chooses us!” It’s absolutely absurd.

By that token, I encourage everyone to read Christian Caple’s article today in the Tacoma News Tribune on Chris Petersen’s definition of a “committed recruit” at UW.

According to the article, while Petersen encourages potential recruits to gather as much information possible by taking visits to UW and other schools, once that player verbally commits to the Huskies, the recruiting process is over. It’s done. In other words: “Their word...is their bond.” It’s a traditional philosophy, and quite frankly, a refreshing one. And while it might not work with some recruits, who are used to being pampered with a plethora of choices and the ability to change their mind at any time, I commend Coach Pete for sticking to his old-school guns.

In the end, I applaud the low-key announcements – the athletes who want the spotlight to come from their play at the next level, and not from choosing a hat in front of a national audience.

A phone call from player to coach, making that commitment, is simple, and incredibly mature: “Coach, I’m coming to your school. I don’t care if anyone knows it or not right now. Because everyone will by the time I leave your program.”