Letter of Intent Day is overrated

Feb 3, 2011, 4:19 PM | Updated: 4:33 pm

Recruiting is important. There is no doubt about that.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way let’s get into what isn’t important yet year after year people pretend it does.

The stars next to 17 and 18-year-old’s names.

I can guarantee you more stars does not equate to more wins.

When I look at a recruiting list I look at other numbers next to the kid’s name, size and speed, and even those give me very little information.

Those are at least the unteachable things. I expect the teachers (coaches) to take it from there.

I’m a Nebraska fan. I had never even heard of Taylor Martinez until spring practice last year.

Why? Because he spent his freshman year as a scout team quarterback, running back, wide receiver, cornerback and safety.

Then by Labor Day he had beaten out a returning starter and – get this – a once-upon-a-time four star sophomore who got playing experience during his freshman season.

Take a look at Texas (I will take every chance I get to take a shot at them).

Texas was playing for the national title 14 months ago.

This year their season ended on Thanksgiving night, finishing 5-7.

Their recruiting rankings from 2006-10 by Rivals.com were fifth, fifth, fourteenth, fifth and third.

Since they were playing for a national title the season before, I’m not really sure you can blame Mack Brown’s coaching.

If you look at the recruiting rankings they should have stayed right up there near the top all season, maybe fell down to the teens if they dropped a game or two or three.

OR maybe three-star QB Colt McCoy was really that important over the previous four years. McCoy was surrounded by four and five star guys but he was the one taking them to the top.

Go figure.

Let’s examine one-time five-star QB recruit Mitch Mustain, who happened to conveniently be in the news on Wednesday.

Coming out of high school in Arkansas he was a highly touted Pro-Style quarterback.

Mustain’s nickname was “The Future.” His high school coach was Gus Malzahn, yes THAT Gus Malzahn (Still don’t know? He’s Auburn’s offensive coordinator).

He went to Arkansas and started eight games as a freshman, going 8-0. “The Future” was holding true to the name he had been given.

After those eight starts he would transfer from Arkansas to USC and have only one more collegiate start (late fall this past season because starter Matt Barkley was injured).

People also get all excited in comparing their rankings on Letter of Intent Day to how they will do the next season.

How many of those players will have an IMPACT next September?

Very few. In some programs the answer to that question will be ZERO.

Arizona State just inked a small class of 14 signees. According to Rivals it ranks tenth in the Pac-12 but their average “star” rating bumps them up to eighth.

First, I don’t even know what that means. Second, when August rolls around I’m going to be much more worried about how Dennis Erickson’s 2008 and 2009 recruiting classes have developed along with his quarterback teaching skills because, you know, those will actually have an IMPACT on the 2011 season.

I know the fun thing to do is grade people on unpredictable potential, but what we really should be doing is grading these classes five years after they sign their Letters of Intent.

Give the coach a chance. Lay off the pressure on the kids. Stop grading and questioning them based on stars on a piece of paper. Wait to see them on the field and let them earn their stardom.


TY’s Outtakes

What I learned this week…

I watched Julian Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks, on CBS’s “60 Minutes” and found it incredibly interesting to see exactly what people are capable of via the Internet.

Speaking of the Internet, I also was quite surprised officials in Egypt were able to turn off the Internet with basically the flip of a switch.

Tweet of the week…

From @Kory Keys: Houston Nutt says that Floyd Raven’s mother signed Raven’s National Letter of Intent.

That was then followed by…

Houston Nutt says that Ole Miss got a signature from Floyd Raven but he’s more concerned with players that “want to be here.”

In summation on Raven: Both Texas A&M and Ole Miss received signed LOIs from Raven. The one sent to Oxford was signed by Raven’s mother.

… That’s just bizarre. It reminds me of the kid who held a fake press conference for himself a few years ago. #WeirdNationalSigningDayStories

Suggestion of the week…

I suggest you watch Christina Aguilera sing the National Anthem at Game 7 of the NBA Finals last June. Pay particularly close attention to how long she sings. According to my fuzzy math she was at 1:53. She is singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl on Sunday and the current over/under is set at 1:54. If you can pull this off you can win money before kickoff. Last year I found YouTube clips of Carrie Underwood practicing the week of the Super Bowl. I was quite confident she was going to hit the over so I laid down my money and was up on the game before the game started. A beautiful thing.

Very likely I’ll be taking the over again this year. … Good luck to ya.

Tyler Bassett

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Letter of Intent Day is overrated