For high school football players, it's one of the biggest days of their lives. For some fans, it's a national holiday. For the media, it's as exciting as it is tiring because of the "star" system.
Let's start with the exciting side. I've been fortunate to work in one media market my entire career. I've watched these kids come up through the ranks of pee-wee football or little league baseball. They moved on to junior leagues and finally to high school where they became standouts.
As a sports reporter, to see these kids pen their John Hancock's on a letter of intent to play football at the next level is exciting. For some of these kids, making it on to a college campus without the help of scholarship dollars was a long shot at best. You can see the excitement on their faces. You can see the pride and joy in the faces of their parents. The parents get the gravity of what they are watching. This is an exciting time for them. Knowing that these young men are putting down on paper where they'll spend the next 4-5 years of their lives becoming adults is exciting to all involved.
I can remember watching Washington High School wide receiver Terrance Copper sign his letter of intent to play football at East Carolina back in 2000. He was so excited he could barely speak. He chose to stay close to home and it paid off as he set several Pirate receiving records before capturing the attention of the Dallas Cowboys where he spent the first couple of years of his NFL career before moving on to New Orleans then Baltimore.
Now to the part that is tiring. It's a monster that the national media has helped fuel with the help of the "star" rating. Some kids aren't in the Copper category. Copper wasn't a 5-star recruit with Florida or Ohio State or Oklahoma beating down his door. With the national or regional media driving them, those kids sit in front of a bunch of cameras with the hats of the different schools who are recruiting them. They wait for the cue then reach for a hat to put on as if the decision hadn't already been made. Some will smugly reach for a hat that wasn't the one they chose just to carry on the "suspense" a little longer before picking the one they really signed with. What a joke. I get so tired of that nonsense and the "star" system that rates university's recruiting classes.
Some websites have East Carolina's recruiting class rating a bit low because they don't have the 4 and 5 start recruits that the websites say define a good class.
I'll take a kid like Terrance Copper any day of the week because he really appreciates the chance to play at the next level. The recruits who really appreciate a chance to go to college and play at the next level not to mention get an education regardless of their "star" rating are the kids I like to cover. Those kids are the real stars.