What will be the biggest surprise on signing day?

February 01, 2011

Watch Florida State

Matt Murschel

Orlando Sentinel

If anyone needs an indication Florida State is making its way back atop the college football landscape, look no further than national signing day.

The Seminoles could be the biggest surprise Wednesday, when they land one of the top recruiting classes this season. It didn't take long for coach Jimbo Fisher to show fans he is serious about building a national powerhouse. With players such as safety Karlos Williams, running back James Wilder Jr. and offensive lineman Josue Matias, this could be one of Florida State's best classes ever.

Stability on the coaching staff and improvement on the field have helped Florida State surpass in-state rivals Florida and Miami on the recruiting trail, leading to its great class. Now translating into a success on the field is another story.

mmurschel@tribune.com

How about honesty?

Paul Doyle

Hartford Courant

This would be an honest-to-goodness surprise on national signing day: Coach stands behind the podium, glares into the camera and says he has no idea if any of the teenagers who signed to play for him will succeed as college athletes. Or Coach solemnly says fans shouldn't expect too much from them as players because their school can't attract elite athletes.

Since coaches don't drink truth serum this time of year, we won't be stunned by anything that transpires. Sure, it's surprising that USC will have one of the most celebrated recruiting classes in the country. And there will be some highly coveted kid who will sign with an unexpected suitor and send recruiting pundits into a tizzy.

But that's always part of the signing day narrative. For a real surprise, let's hear some honesty.

pdoyle@tribune.com

USC back in business

Eric Sondheimer

Los Angeles Times

The big surprise Wednesday will be how well USC has sustained its recruiting.

The Trojans have 26 commitments, including the best players in California at running back, linebacker and receiver. So much for the conventional wisdom that USC's recruiting would go into the tank because of NCAA sanctions.

Restrictions have affected USC's recruiting nationally, but another losing season by UCLA and an offseason of tumult on the Bruins coaching staff helped the Trojans maintain their huge advantage in talent-rich Southern California.

Also, watch for several top players from the Class of 2012 making announcements about their college choices — and then changing their minds in a couple of months.

esondheimer@tribune.com

Beware the storm

Paul Skrbina

Chicago Tribune

With blizzard conditions possibly postponing school in some parts of the country Wednesday, the biggest surprise of national signing day might be the actual signing and delivery of some letters of intent on the first day it is allowed by the NCAA.

Up to 2 feet of snow is expected to hit some areas, pushing the paranoia needle up to unreadable levels for some college coaches, who want those signatures ASAP.

One college coach in the Midwest sent a recruit an e-mail with a map showing every Kinko's within a 20-mile radius of his home, just in case the recruit couldn't make it to school to fax in his signed letter.

pskrbina@tribune.com

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