The Best of National Signing Day 2016


Outstanding letters of intent aside, National Signing Day 2016 nears its conclusion. Feel free to take a breath and give your index finger a break after it spent the last few hours furiously hitting F-5.

National Signing Day 2016 brought college football recruiting to a whole new level of spectacle, between Bleacher Report’s increasingly elaborate commitment announcements and Michigan’s star-studded partnership with The Players Tribune.

For those exhausted by the hype that recruiting generates, you’ll appreciate this column by the incomparable Chris Dufresne.

I enjoy the celebratory atmosphere of national signing day, but then I see Jim Leyland and Migos hit the dab, and…well…read my thoughts on Super Bowl media day.

Just remember, every time you see a college football program infuse pop culture swag into their identity, Miami did it first.

Not that it matters much. Miami was last competitive on the national stage when the crop of recruits pledging on National Signing Day 2016 were just starting Kindergarten. New Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt’s pursuit of restoring glory at The U began in earnest Wednesday, but Miami met traction from another program looking to regain past success.

Butch Jones and Co. flipped a few Miami recruits to Tennessee in the 23rd-and-a-half-hour, pushing the Volunteers into the Top 15 as of this writing. Tennessee’s hype train has further momentum heading into a pivotal 2016.

As a child of the ‘90s, the prospect of Tennessee and Miami building a rivalry is tantalizing. If nothing else, national signing day has a way of building contentious relationships.

Jim Harbaugh’s recruiting tactics haven’t ingratiated Michigan to the rest of college football, for example. He’s already made enemies in SEC Country with his use of satellite, and his highly publicized sleepovers leading up to National Signing Day 2016 may have inspired the following from Big Ten East counterpart James Franklin.

The Big Ten is indeed catching up to the SEC – at least, as far as coaches it comes to coaches getting into recruiting slap-fights. Bret Bielema, who logged a reported 20,000 air miles visiting prospects ahead of signing day, did what he does.

Friend of the Site Allen Kenney has the perfect analogy for the braggadocio so prevalent on national signing day, and offers up the one man capable of matching Bielema’s penchant for speaking before thinking.

But never mind Michigan and its parade of celebrities, or the passive-aggressive barbs lobbed between coaches for just a moment. Not even Harbaugh couldn’t get Jerry Seinfeld, which Colgate did. Sorta.

Raiders head coach Dan Hunt invoked the TV series in each of his tweet introducing Colgate’s 2016 signing class.

A program like Colgate may not have the budget or clout to attract the fourth female lead from Gossip Girl, but I appreciate Hunt’s creativity in attracting his team some attention.

The defending Patriot League champion Raiders are stocking up on prospects, hoping to hold off challengers who invade with the fury of The Moops. Among them: Lehigh, which had one of my favorite recruiting headshots of National Signing Day 2016.

Now, the tweet says Seighman, but I think Lehigh media relations may have misspelled “Hanson.” The Mountain Hawks are putting on the tinfoil in 2016.

Quick aside: Stony Brook actually adopted the Hanson Bros. look for its team poster in 2010. This will forever be one of my favorite marketing gimmicks.

As much as I love Seighman’s Twitter card, however, my second favorite signee of National Signing Day 2016 is David Fangupo, the 350-pound running back – yes, RUNNING BACK – a new addition at Oregon State.
Second-year Beavers head coach Gary Andersen must have taken something away from his tenure at Wisconsin, a program that loves beefy running backs. But even Badger big bodies like John Clay and P.J. Hill pale in comparison to Fangupo.

I label Fangupo my second favorite signee, because UCLA landed my absolute favorite. UCLA’s formal recruitment of 9-year-old Cade Spinello was easily the highlight of National Signing Day 2016.