Randy Smith: Signing Day Wrap

Thursday, February 7, 2013 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

We’re all familiar with the phrase, “The rich keep getting richer.” That appears to be the scenario in college football after National Signing Day for 2013. Alabama has won three of the last four national recruiting titles, thus it’s easy to see why the Crimson Tide has also claimed three of the last four BCS National Championships. Alabama took the 2013 recruiting title, so we can very likely see another championship banner in Tuscaloosa in the next year or two.

I would imagine Coach Nick Saban has put together the most dominant college football program ever; even more dominant than Pete Carroll’s Southern Cal squads in the early 2000s. The only thing that could bring down Alabama’s dominance  in recruiting would be too much continued success on the field. (Are you crazy? Most of you are probably asking right now.) If Alabama continues to win as they have , with great young players at every position, a talented four or five star prospect may choose to sign elsewhere. An example of this is yesterday’s turn of events by Ridgeland five-star defensive back Vonn Bell. Bell chose Ohio State over Alabama and Tennessee, and it appears to be a “safe” choice for him. If he had chosen Alabama, he would have a lot more competition for playing time. If he had chosen Tennessee, he would have played immediately, but probably have played on a mediocre team at best. By picking the Buckeyes and Coach Urban Meyer, Bell saw a chance to play right away on a team that will be a consensus top-five pick in the pre-season polls later this summer.

Recruiting has never been an exact science, but  it’s hard to argue Alabama’s recruiting success, tying into actual success on the field. There are many more teams who have had great recruiting classes but continue to turn in 7-5 and 8-4 records. (Southern Cal) Texas has also had great classes recently but the Longhorns haven’t played in a BCS Title game since Vince Young was playing. (2004) That’s why Alabama not only has college football’s national championship squad, but they have college football’s best and most dominant program as well.

Florida came in number two as Coach Will Muschamp enters his third season at the “Swamp”. The biggest surprise on National Signing Day however, was Ole Miss. Coach Hugh Freeze started the day by locking up the nation’s top prospect, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche from Logansville, Ga. The Rebels added the nation’s number receiver in Laquon Treadwell from Crete, Illinois. Ole Miss becomes the first school to sign multiple top-five prospects since Texas (2007) and Florida (2010). Notice neither one of those schools played for a national title with those classes. Coach Freeze’s big time recruiting class is nevertheless very impressive. Even though the rumors are flying about “illegalities” in Oxford, Coach Freeze claims his staff is doing things the “right way.”

As for Coach Butch Jones at Tennessee, his class featured 21 signees, with several four star players, but no five star recruits. The Vols are looking at a class flirting with a top 25 finish for the year. In all, it was another really great day for the SEC.

Texas A&M is off to a much better start than anyone thought was possible after one season in the SEC. They will have a top-five squad when the first polls come out later this summer, but they also had a good recruiting class as well. As I mentioned, college football recruiting is not an exact science. A team’s fortunes could sink fast with an upset loss during the season. Remember these head coaches are putting their lives and their huge paychecks in the hands of 18, 19, and 20 year old young men and that is even much less an exact science than recruiting. That is a huge gamble, and right now, Nick Saban is holding all the cards.


rsmithsports@comcast.net

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Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).



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