How did they announce their National Signing Day commitments? Let us count the ways.
When, as a nation, we’re coming off a 2016 in which one recruit sky-dived to reveal his announcement on the ground, another had a table with a row of four cakes that turned out to be decoys, and another pulled out not a cap but a houndstooth hat, the ensuing year can struggle to live up.
The ensuing year struggled to live up on Wednesday, but National Signing Day burns on. It’s still a crucial American day when millions of fans gain validation from the choices of hundreds of teenagers, and when those players flash the creativity of a generation. It’s lunacy and wonder entwined. Sometimes the high school bands even play, making one wonder about overworked clarinetists.
In a gathering tradition, LSU again placed billboards of its signees around various highways and byways, in four states. In Baton Rouge, you could find one, for example, on Bluebonnet, just north of Perkins, but facing south, so that if you happened to look for it and aim north, you needed both to make a U-turn and to pay more attention to the road. LSU placed two in the state of the recruiting dynasty Alabama, believed to be a violation of the natural order of the universe, but if any Alabama fan wanted to stand beneath a billboard and chide the signee for the fact that LSU has not scored more than 17 points in any of its six consecutive losses to Alabama, including zero last fall, that person could always visit Interstate 10, west of Daphne, facing west.
As the usual parade of happiness and beaming mothers graced the screen all day long, a fresh wrinkle to the process appeared in Austin, where four-star linebacker Levi Jones chose between Florida, Florida State and Southern California. He gave a fine rendition of the essential savagery of recruiting.
He unzipped a black jumper to reveal a blue “Gators” T-shirt, hinting at Florida.
Oh, but he removed that shirt to reveal a garnet “Seminoles” T-shirt, hinting at Florida State.
Oh, but he removed also that shirt to show his bottom layer, a Southern California shirt to which, in a show of accessorizing, he added a cap.
“Fight on,” he said in the Trojans’ mantra.
Announcements by video production have gone from novelty to mainstay, so two Maryland-bound running backs took technical honors with considerable help from the website Bleacher Report. First, last Friday, Anthony McFarland of DeMatha High had his video of his trip to Reagan National Airport, replete with boarding passes for Miami (Fla.) and Alabama, only to not fly.
Many of us know the disorienting feeling of going to an airport, going through security and then not flying,…