Today is National Letter of Intent signing day. It’s a huge day for High School athletes looking to take their talents to the college level. Of course the talent level isn’t known at this time, and won’t be for another 2-3 years. That doesn’t stop some publications from letting us know who the winner is for bringing in the most talent.
The first player to announce today on ESPN was Robert Nkemdiche of Grayson (Ga.) High School. Nkemdiche, a 6′ 5″, 260-pound defensive end, follows his brother Denzel, already a starting linebacker for the Rebels, to Oxford. Florida and LSU were also in the running. This “decision” was the first of 15 to be announced on television today.
ESPN has already made their 2013 top ten recruiting list available. It appears Will Muschamp and Florida have gotten off the mat and been named this year’s winner. Now can he coach them? Alabama is a resounding second and Ohio State third. But nobody knows what this talent will eventually achieve yet.
For example, Charlie Weis was coach at Notre Dame from 2005 through 2009. He recruited for the school for 4 years. During 2005 through 2008, Notre Dame was unranked in 2005, 5th in 2006, 11th in 2007 and the Irish had the second ranked class in 2008. However Weis was a combined 35-27 in his 5 years. His best record was in 2005 when he went 9-3 with players recruited by Ty Willingham.
What this tells us is either Weis couldn’t coach, or these rankings are overrated. Both are probably the real answer.
There is no way you can accurately judge talent coming into the college level. Some will play at their talent, some below. Other’s will be a surprise. Who said Cam Newton would be the most dynamic player in college football with Auburn not only when he chose Florida coming out of HS, but when he left Florida for a junior college.
Troy Smith is another name that scouts misjudged, including his own coach Jim Tressel. Smith came out of Cleveland Glenville as an afterthought to Ohio State. Already there was former Orrville and Massillon quarterback Justin Zwick, everyone’s All American. Zwick was replaced by Smith in his junior year and went on to propel the Buckeyes into the National Championship game and won a Heisman trophy. For every player that fulfills his potential at the college level, there are the Cam Newton’s and Troy Smith’s.
Still in all, it’s beyond belief an incoming class can be ranked as the best or worst until years down the road. Let the kids develop and the coaches do their job. That will determine the best in the long run.
Dave Mitchell co-hosts with Mark Donahue the UST talk show “Ohio Baseball Weekly,” highlighting the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds. The Show returns on March 4th at 9pm with a two hour special.