The phenomenon of National High School signing day took many twists and turns last week, with every school trying to use the immediacy of social media combined with some savvy and cost effective technology to try and make the day just that more special. It was not without its lighter moments, such as Penn State coach James Franklin doing a live chat to let a recruit know only to realize he dialed the wrong number and offered a scholarship to a Penn State fan nowhere near gridiron ready, and some young folks who put on the wrong hats with the wrong logos. Then there was the Snoop Dog extravaganza as his son Cordell made the crosstown trek to UCLA, and thousands of dollars of Trojans gear and years of loyalty went up in smoke.
So with all the hoopla a week in the distance, our friends at IMG College passed along some highlight links to show just how creative and how unique, some signing days have become in this truly unique American experience. In all, hashtags related to National Signing Day were used over 100,000 times on Twitter last Tuesday. Miami produced social trading cards, while Southern Mississippi printed out the real thing. Tennessee featured live coverage from their War Room Cam. Florida celebrated new family members on their in-stadium video board. Graphics with replica jerseys were made by Washington State, and Oregon commits received customized lockers. Wake Forest, UCLA, Auburn, Cincinnati, Arkansas, and Texas included state maps on their graphics, while Cal and Ohio State went with maps of the United States.
Excessive? Maybe a bit. Creative? For sure and just a small sampling of all that went on during a scramble for schools big and small last week. Where all these images may go in future years as the rights and liknesses of college athletes is bandied about is anyone’s guess, but for now the old college try produced some memorable moments for these student-athletes and their fans, in both the real and virtual world.