Wednesday is National Signing Day for college football. It's a day that has become almost as celebrated in college football circles as the first day of the NFL Draft is for pro football fans. ESPN will have all-day coverage on ESPNU with live decisions from some of the country's top recruits.
What was once a process that only a small number of people paid attention to has become a fascination for college football fans around the country. Newspaper beat writers now have to pay almost as much attention to recruiting as they do to the teams they cover. ESPNU's coverage dwarfs what was on TV when I was growing up, which was a weekly show called "Countdown to Signing Day" which I remember coming on cable TV in the middle of the night.
Now the coverage has become so overblown that sites like Rivals and Scout can ask top dollar for insider information on recruiting and recruiting experts are routinely on TV. Hell, Tom Lemming was in a movie this past year. The recruiting national championship is celebrated nearly as fervently as the actual national championship for college football fans and part of recruiting for teams is being in the news for their recruiting.
And that's what makes what Virginia Tech has done in recent years even more remarkable.
Wednesday will be a boring day for Tech fans. Fans of schools like Miami, Alabama and Texas will be eagerly watching ESPNU and Rivals.com to see if they got any surprise recruits and see where their team's recruiting classes rank. But you won't see any of that from Virginia Tech fans.
There are now super recruits coming to Blacksburg and the Hokies aren't in the running for any Signing Day announcements from the nation's top high school players. Virginia Tech already has its 21 commitments and barring something completely unexpected, it looks like those 21 players (including four already on campus) will be the ones Tech claims for its 2010 class.
And the class, while being extremely solid, doesn't feature any five-star recruits and only one recruit from ESPN.com's Top 150 prospects. But while the Hokies won't be grabbing any of the national spotlight with their recruiting class, there's a very good chance that the players they sign will go on to star in the ACC.
Tech fans like to make the "more with less" argument when it comes to the talent Frank Beamer's staff has brought in over the years. It's a good argument to make for fans because it's next to impossible to assign numbers to. The recruiting star system is sketchy in the first place and due to redshirting it takes years to fully analyze a recruiting class.
But while the Hokies have had busts with highly recruited players like every school has, they do seem to take three-star recruits and recruited walk-ons and turn them into Cody Grimm or Orion Martin. Tech has won 10 games or more in six consecutive seasons, but its highest-ranked recruiting class according to Rivals over that period was 14th.
Tech has a habit of bringing in the best Virginia has to offer, whether or not it's the best the nation has to offer, handing it over to Mike Gentry and producing high quality football teams. It's a testament to Frank Beamer's system and makes you wonder what would happen if Tech's recruiting classes included more four- and five-star recruits.
So while other fans can revel in National Signing Day and the attention it brings their school, Hokie fans will have to be patient and see what the recruits Beamer and Company have signed turn into.