First off, let me just throw this out there – the media (yes, myself included) makes way too big a hoopla out of National Signing Day.
It’s an exciting day in that you get a glimpse into the future of your favorite college football program, but at best, it’s a very, very small glimpse.
You just never know which kids will be stars, which kids will end up being an afterthought or even which kids will actually be on the team come September.
The thing people seem to forget is that these kids – every one of them in Georgia Southern’s case this season – are still in high school. Sure, you want to go out and get the best-possible high school players for your team, but so much has to happen between February and when they actually see the field that it’s a sucker’s bet to try and name the next great player out of every recruiting class.
It takes a lot of coaching, a lot of work in the weight room, a lot of work in the classroom and a lot of maturation before you really find out what a kid is made of. There’s a big difference between an 18-year-old and a 21-year-old, and the football field is no different. A year in the gym and a year at a new school can make all the difference in the world.
Georgia Southern has been a different animal these past few seasons, because true freshmen have been all over the field out of necessity for one reason or another, and we all saw how that worked out.
In the perfect world, a coach can redshirt his players and give them a year or more to naturally ease into a system. Unfortunately in the real world and especially at GSU here of late, things have been far from perfect.
There has been a lot of speculation of about which of the three quarterbacks from GSU’s 2010 recruiting class will get the nod in the fall to be the signal caller, and people seem to forget one huge factor – somebody is going to have to play quarterback in the spring, and none of those recruits will be here yet.
That means, unless they put a tackling dummy behind the center during the upcoming camp, somebody who is currently on the team will be the quarterback while the double-slot, option offense is (re)installed at Beautiful Eagle Creek.
Whichever players end up there will have a big-time leg up in the process.
That isn’t to say that one of the recruits or even a transfer won’t step in during fall camp and state their case, but, personally, I’d rather see somebody out there who has been around the block a few times.
I trust that on September 4 against Savannah State, the best man for the job will be out there, but in the meantime, trying to figure out who that will be is about as pointless as trying to predict the Heisman Trophy winner 2014.
For all the marbles
Region tournament time is upon us in the prep basketball world, so let’s take a look at our area teams and see how they stack up as the regular season winds down.
Bulloch Academy gets an early start, hosting the GISA Region 2-AA tournament, which tips off today.
Both the boys and girls have had their ups and downs this season, but each has played its best basketball during region play. Considering the home-court advantage, it looks like the Gators have a leg up.
Statesboro was swept in region play for the first time last week, and if anybody stands in the Devils’ way of a pair of Region 2-AAAA titles, it’s Glynn Academy.
The boys will have to play from their strengths and limit the mistakes if they don’t want somebody to sneak upon them early, while the Lady Devils learned everything they need to know in their first region loss at Glynn.
In Region 3-AA, Screven County and Southeast Bulloch don’t have any question marks. Chris Rogers will have to play the best he’s ever played as his senior season at SEB comes to an end, and at SCHS, Fab Mills, Corn Roberts and P.J. Reason will need to find a way to get the Gamecocks over the hump. The Lady Gamecocks have the advantage of one of the league’s best post players in Bria Lonon, and they’ll need to get the most out of her play at the block.
In Region 3-A, Portal has had life breathed into it by the introduction of point guard Warren Dogan. The Panthers may just have all the pieces to make a late run.
Metter (14-9, 9-1) will look to avoid a repeat of last season’s letdown as it enters tournament play as one of the favorites, but perhaps the clear-cut frontrunner as it stands is Claxton.
The CHS Tigers (21-2, 10-1) suffered a humbling loss Friday at Savannah Country Day. Now that they know they’re not invincible, they will be on full alert as they look to claim a No. 1 seed in the state playoffs.
Shine the courts and get the net clippers ready, because it should be a heck of a ride.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.