Monday, February 8, 2010
Thinking out loud
Signing Day, possibly the most over-hyped day on the sports calendar, came and went last Wednesday and, as has become commonplace in the area, several local student-athletes signed National Letters of Intent with various college programs.
Locally, five Division I football players signed last week. They were: Canon-McMillan's Chad Hagan (Ohio State) and Mike Hull (Penn State), Trinity's Ken Wilkins (Michigan), Washington's Bryan Thomas (Bowling Green) and Monessen's ShelDon Miller (Akron).
My problem with Signing Day isn't the event itself. The student-athletes work hard to achieve athletic scholarships and deserve the opportunity to make the signing an event. My problem with Signing Day is the increasingly nauseating amount of attention it receives and how inaccurate the class rankings prove to be every year.
Things recently written about Hull provide a perfect example.
At least two web sites that I read which cover recruiting nationally mentioned how Pitt's incoming football class is considered a failure because the Panthers let Hull, among others, get to Penn State. At this point, no one's sure how Pitt's class will play but the fact national writers thought Pitt had a chance at Hull shows how little they followed Western Pennsylvania.
Let's see. Hull's father played at Penn State. One of his uncles played at Penn State. His high school coach played at Penn State. And, most importantly, Hull grew up a die-hard Penn State fan. I've never covered a recruitment with less mystery surrounding it than Hull's.
* Wrestling talk is normally reserved to Joe Tuscano's blog Mat Matters but it's time to weigh in on the non-section matches that take place between the end of the regular season and the individual tournaments, excluding the team playoff contests.
Why do these matches count for individual records?
These matches, nothing more than exhibitions, should be counted as such. Why do they count?
In basketball, a WPIAL basketball team can have a two, three-week layoff between an early round exit in the district playoffs and the start of the PIAA tournament. Those teams can continue playing other teams that are playoff teams. The scrimmages do not count on individual or team records.
Can anyone rationally explain the difference?
* Trinity sports lost an ally when Jerry Chambers resigned from the school board last week. Chambers, a former Trinity athletic director, was instrumental in hiring Ed Dalton as athletic director and football coach.
* Back in 2004, the Pitt press conference on signing day centered around Walt Harris' inability to land then-Penn State quarterback Anthony Morelli and North Hills running back Andrew Johnson. Morelli reneged on an oral commitment to Pitt and signed with Penn State. Johnson signed with Miami (Fla.)
Morelli never lived up to billing with the Nittany Lions, while Johnson has to be considered one of the biggest busts in recent WPIAL history. (And that's a long list. Maybe we'll delve deeper at some point.)
No one talked about Darrelle Revis at the press conference. Revis, out of Aliquippa, is one of the premier players in the NFL.