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‘I have made my decision’

Today is the day – the day when a college football program’s dreams come true or the coaching staff watches in pain as another “Blue Chip” recruit signs with a rival school. College football Signing Day is officially here.

Months, usually more like years, of work in attempting to lure a teenager to play football all comes to down to the following words: “I have made my decision to play college football at … “

Programs will be ranked and judged on their recruiting class and often times season outlooks for the coming year will depend upon the recruiting classes. It’s such an important day that every major college football program in the country schedules a special celebration or press conference to announce the new talent it reeled in. Some schools like Georgia Tech even have a full blown celebration party and invite fans to buy tickets to attend.



While this is a much anticipated day for coaches, think how cool this day would be for the actual high school players themselves.

The best of the best, usually the Parade All-Americans, get to make quite a production about their decision. A prized recruit has the luxury of holding a press conference that day, or in the days leading up to Signing Day, to announce to the world which school is lucky enough to have him sign on the dotted line.




Hundreds, sometimes thousands of fans will gather to watch the high school senior pick the hat of his college of choice out of a bag or watch as he dramatically takes off a jacket revealing the shirt of his new college team.

The crowd will mill around nervously before the big decision is announced, each murmuring to a neighbor about how they heard from the recruit’s mom’s-sister’s-hair dresser that he wants to attend the University of Wisconsin.

(OK, totally kidding, couldn’t help the Badger reference.)

As the minutes tick by, the recruit will step to the podium and greet the crowd as every eye in the place turns to him and reporters click on their tape recorders. After teasing the crowd for a bit the recruit finally discloses his choice and the crowd goes nuts.

We’re talking screams filling the air, people hugging, friends yelling “I told you so” – and all because the high school football player announced where he was attending college.

Seriously, how cool would that be to know that your college decision could affect thousands of people? So much so that you had to have a formal press conference to tell those people which college team was lucky enough to snag you.

I think back to my college decision and don’t remember anyone outside my friends and family caring too much about where I went. But what if they did? What would it be like?…

ooo

“We’re here with 18-year-old Stacy Hicklin, a 5-foot, 3-inch high school senior who is just about to announce her college decision,” the TV announcer covering my live press conference would say. “I tell you, the stakes have been high to snag this prized student. Her versatility in history, English and physical education are really hard to find and I hear she has quite a passion for student government and working for newspapers.

“We hear she’s pretty torn between Marquette and Wisconsin, but there are always the rumors that Kansas and Kentucky could sneak in last minute. This decision is really going to make the political science chair at some college one lucky professor. Her mom Stephanie, however, tells us she thinks Stacy is leaning toward not being too close to home, which would point to an advantage for Wisconsin.”I would step up to the microphone and thank everyone for the interest in my future and reach behind me to pull out a red and white Wisconsin notebook, with a matching pen. Former teachers of mine would hug, Bucky the Badger would run to the stage to engulf me a hug and my friends would celebrate knowing they had an amazing place to visit for Halloween.

ooo

In all seriousness, college football Signing Day is a really fun day to follow in keeping track of where all the hot shots like Ryan Perrilloux, a quarterback from Louisiana, or Fred Rouse, a wide receiver from Tallahassee, end up going. For weeks, we will be treated to the argument about whether Nebraska, Tennessee, Michigan, USC or Iowa snagged the best group of recruits.

Signing Day is a fun day, especially for the actual players signing. I just hope they enjoy the day as I much as I did simply imagining what it would be like.

ooo

Stacy Hicklin is a sportswriter for The Union. She may be reached via e-mail at stacyh@theunion.com or by phone at 477-4244.


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