'We're excited about this recruiting class...blah, blah, blah..."
I'll supply you with quotes that were made at the twelve different press conferences held by Pac-12 coaches about their recruiting classes, and you match them with the coach who said them.
A: "Our staff did a tremendous job of putting together this class."
B: "We feel very good about the class we just signed. We took care of our needs."
C: "When I look at this class, it's a very complete class. I think it assesses a lot of our needs but yet brings in some very talented kids that aren't just about filling a need, that are going to have some special qualities that will elevate our football team that make us better."
D: "I am really excited about this group. It is an outstanding group of guys."
E: "I'm really excited about the kids in this class not only as football players but as people. I'm excited about the future that they're going to bring to this program."
F: "We are confident that we have recruited a class of young men that will represent (our school) well, both on and off the field."
G: "We are excited to welcome one of the best recruiting classes in school history."
H: "It has been an awfully exciting day for us - it has been a whirlwind over the last month or so. We're very very excited about this class."
I: "I'm very excited to welcome this class to (school)."
J: "We're very excited about it. Today we got better. There is a lot of excitement around our program."
K: "We addressed our needs with this group, and it's a solid class. We signed guys who want to be part of this program."
L: "We addressed a lot of needs in our program in terms of certain positions."
You got 100% correct, didn't you?
Of course you did, because these quotes are completely interchangeable. Every coach in the country who held a press conference about his recruiting class on Wednesday all said the same things. They're proud of the class. They filled needs. They signed a great group of players.
Blah. Blah. Blah.
What are they supposed to say?
That's why letter of intent day around college football is absolutely pointless. Let me explain.
Recruiting has become a big business. Thousands of regular schmoes shell out good money to websites like Scout.com and Rivals.com to get the inside skinny on what their favorite college football teams are doing in the recruiting world. And these sites do an unbelievable job of covering the ins and outs of official visits and verbal commitments, so this is not an indictment of what they do.
This is also not an attack on recruiting -- it's been around almost as long as college football itself. I do think it's become another area that's being given way too much media coverage and putting undue pressure on a lot of young athletes, but again, it's necessary.
But as I sat at Todd Graham's press conference as he spoke in glowing terms about every member of his recruiting class (even the ones whose names he couldn't pronounce), it dawned on me. What a complete waste of time this press conference is! What's he going to say? "We didn't want this kid, but he seems like an o.k. kid and we had a scholarship available." Not likely.
Have you ever heard an actor doing promotion for a new movie tell a talk show host that the flick is terrible? Have you ever had a used car salesman tell you the car you want to buy is junk? You almost never hear a sports GM admit he got fleeced on a trade (Masai Ujiri of the Denver Nuggets did last year...turns out he was wrong to feel that way).
Nothing against Graham; this is an unnecessary position that coaches all over find themselves in, including those in the Pac-12. What college coach is going to speak in less than glowing terms about their recruits?
And because of that, I've attended my last letter of intent day press conference. I'll catch up on the notes later on, or better yet, I'll wait to see the kids actually play.
Oh, and if you really want the answers to the above quiz, here you go: A: Mike Leach, B: Kyle Whittingham, C: Steve Sarkisian, D: Mike Riley, E: Jeff Tedford, F: Jim Mora, G: DavidShaw, H: Todd Graham, I: Lane Kiffin, J: Jon Embree, K: Rich Rodriguez, L: Chip Kelly