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LSU football coach Les Miles. (Associated Press)

LSU football coach Les Miles. (Associated Press)

Hobbs: Bracing for the onslaught that is signing day

Last Modified: Tuesday, February 05, 2013 9:43 PM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

By nightfall, all the land’s college football programs, presumably LSU included, should be sufficiently restocked for the trials and tribulations ahead.

Diligent research suggests that some will pan out, some won’t, some will live up to their billing and some will surprise and others will disappoint. There will be misfires and pleasant overachievers and, according to history, a few will run afoul with a school policy or a law.

Hold your breath.

Better yet, just close your eyes, rub your temples and soon enough it will all be over.

Then we can all get on with our lives.

This is the one day of the year that the recruiting geeks, who normally lead a dank and lonely secluded life glued to the computer in the basement, feel sufficiently empowered to come out and risk sunlight to run amok through the meadows like they own the place.

A few random thoughts as we brace for 12 consecutive hours of breathtaking, dawn-to-dusk coverage utilizing the entire ESPN family of networks:

• I don’t mind coaches’ obsession with recruiting, it’s their job and, ultimately, their livelihood.

• It’s the recruitniks who really disturb me, particularly the fact that many aren’t really bad people per se, and are able to leave productive, normal lives when not obsessed with the fickle decisions of a 17-year-old kid.

• Not to play the Norman Rockwell card, but America in general, and college football in particular, was a far better place when fans were content to trust the coaches on recruiting and wait until next fall (or the next) to see how it turned out.

• Call me a stubborn old goat, but it was never designed to be a spectator sport.

• Am I understanding this right? It really matters if a school can, say, it edged up from No. 9 to No. 8 in somebody’s overall recruiting rankings?

• As a general rule of thumb, if you’re going to tweet a picture of your recruiting visit with lovely lasses attending to you, it’s always best to make sure the picture does not reveal that there is a bong on the table in the foreground. It’s now a valuable life’s lesson learned by Georgia recruit Davin Bellany on his visit to Oregon. And, no, it wasn’t a flower vase.

• LSU’s drama revolves around the nation’s No. 1 prospect (according to somebody), defensive end Robert Nkemdiche of somewhere in Georgia, who was seemingly out of the picture until he took a visit to Tigertown last weekend and had a “great visit.” It included being squired around by Shaquille O’Neal. This was seen as a major coup for LSU.

• He’ll probably still go to Ole Miss, where his brother is already in residence.

• Nkemdiche will announce his decision today on ESPNU at the ungodly hour of 6:30 a.m. — as in the morning.

• Remind me to set my alarm.

• On second thought, I won’t be up.

• If he does pick LSU, can we just call him Robert. He has the potential to short-circuit my spell check.

• Recruiting is not journalism’s finest season. The websites are filled with bait-and-switch headlines twisting any innocent remark into a reason to lure fans in for a hit. Basically journalists are reduced to being barkers outside a Bourbon Street saloon.

• The most compelling, tear-jerker story in this year’s recruiting soap opera, as usual, comes from Alabama, where destructive linebacker Reuben Foster has flip-flopped again and will apparently ink with the Crimson Tide. This despite having an AU (Auburn) tattoo prominently and quite permanently inked onto his biceps from a previous engagement.

• Unlike the premature commitment to Auburn, the tattoo is binding.

• One of the joys of recruiting is listening to coaches bemoan the fact that other coaches are trying to lure their commitments away, just before they get on the phone and try to lure out a flip-flop out of somebody else’s commitment.

• The Big Ten coaches were just aghast when Urban Meyer showed up at Ohio State, fresh from the SEC, and openly pursued recruits who had already pledged to other Big Ten schools. “Rude, crude and untoward,” they cried.

• Just one more reason the SEC has won six straight BCS titles.

• My favorite recruit so far is Auburn mega-five-star commitment Carl Lawson — No. 2 overall, according to ESPN — who with the support of his parents, has announced that he will have no special theatrics for his signing. He’ll just call the school and let them know his final decision, and anybody who’s interested can call the principal’s office. Good family.

• ESPN will probably file suit against the Lawson family demanding that they make a proper spectacle out of it.

• There’s an uncomfortable spot in hell for whoever came up with the three-card monte, toy-and-tease-with-the-three-caps method of announcing your college choice.

• Don’t blame the kids for tweets like “Coming to visit LSU, Tiger fans. Gonna show me some love?” They have an excuse for being immature. The fans who eat it up (and, worse, worry about it) are another matter.

• All twittering aside, once August practice starts these cocky hot shots will probably be warned against referring to their new head coach as “that dude.”

• The terms “soft verbal” and “mild lean” have no business in the English language.

• Somebody explain to me how these recruiting experts can profess to know what a high school hot shot is thinking when the kid’s own parents haven’t been able to figure it out in 17 years of around-the-clock observation?

• I wish I could remember who the LSU commitment was, but sometime in mid-January I got several excited texts and Twitter was all aflutter because had suddenly elevated him from four-star to five-star status. He hadn’t played a game in more than a month. Somebody explain to me how that happens.

• How did coaches ever recruit effectively before the Internet put together full-time staffs to assign “stars” to the check lists?

• I’ll put more stock in these recruiting rankings — and the “star” system — when they figure out a way to get the all-important (but often overlooked) “Knucklehead” factor into the equation.

• We all know they’re out there.

• As you might deduce, this is not my favorite day of the year.

• This, too, shall pass.

• • •

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at

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