National Signing Dayapalooza


By Paul M. Banks
National Signing Day, college football’s version of the NFL draft, continues to grow in popularity each year. The everyday causal football fan has now joined the hardcore college football nerd in following the day’s events. There are even parties thrown at sports bars and restaurants in honor of the event.

Yes indeed, there are that many people interested in going out on a February night to watch high school football highlights and learn where those kids are attending college.

This year, both Illinois and Northwestern had live streaming coverage of and special soirees for the first day that blue-chip recruits have an option to sign their letters of intent. The local sports media came out to Evanston in full force to see how much recruiting benefits NU Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald gained after a season where his team finished just one win shy of the school record.

It started and finished locally, with Northwestern receiving commitments from five Chicagoland recruits to go along with 13 signees from across the country. The Wildcats’ five local commits gives NU a total of 16 Chicagoland signees the past three years and ups their current roster of Illinois players to 34. “Our focus always begins and ends with Chicagoland and we are thrilled with the commitments we received from our local student-athletes,” said Fitzgerald.

Patrick Ward OT 6-7 285 Homer Glen, Ill./Providence Catholic is the jewel of the class. His father played on Illinois’ 1984 Rose Bowl team. “It’s critical to your success, recruiting is the lifeblood of your program…We feel like we filled our needs from a size, speed, and toughness standpoint, Fitzgerald said. Allen Trieu, a recruiting analyst for, called Northwestern’s 2009 signing class the “most underrated class” among Midwest FBS schools, while rated Fitz’s haul as middle-of-the-pack. The recruiting specialty site ranked the class 58th overall in the nation.

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  1. paulmbanks says

    How come Hallmark hasnt made greeting cards for National Signing Day yet?

  2. National Signing Day is dumb… wow, we once again know what we knew a year ago when this kid first committed to us… AWESOME!!!

  3. paulmbanks says

    well said!

  4. Nice

  5. Peter Christian says

    While I am secretly a fan of signing day (only because I look forward to the kids that screw a school over by signing elsewhere, I love those stories), the day reminds me of a guy that I used to work with back in EC (David K. and Wolly know who I’m talking about). His nickname rhymed with “cool” and he was anything but cool. On second thought I hate Signing Day.

  6. The Statue of Harold Baines says

    That guy you know sounds like a tool

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