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BISHER: Signing Day success only the beginning

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

“Signing Day A Huge Success” was the headline, and the first thought that leaped across my mind was (1) who decides, since not one kid has played a down in college, and (2) what makes a ‘signing’ a success, and (3) signing for what?

You will note here a trace of sarcasm, a conclusion rightly made. All these years that high school football players have been wooed and won by college pursuers, I have watched and wondered just what percentage of the athletes have turned out to be successful — not on the football field, but in life?

You see, all these young athletes have many more years to live after football. Many more years to be a success in a field other than football. Some, of course, will have an exciting career on the football field in college, and some — fewer, of course — moving ahead in pro football. But many of those aunts, grandmothers, grandpas and, sometimes, parents whose life has peaked at one of these signings, are riding a glory train for one brief moment.

We have self-acclaimed authorities on football talent. Some are operating companies, and that’s their business. Rating the future of high school athletes, and are blatant in their declarations.

Georgia, from what I read, signed four of the “top five” rated prospects, eight of the “top 12.” Check with me five or six years from now and see how that worked out.

From what I read, that made the Bulldogs a roaring success in the recruiting market. Georgia Tech, hmm, didn’t fare so well.

Paul Johnson and his guys didn’t score a high mark in the state. Based on the current market, Tech signed only four of the outstanding 50 players in Georgia. Not a lot of high school football players have a career of engineering in mind. Tough stuff, calculus, and all that jazz.

You see, this is a highly publicized prediction that the football future of the Ramblin’ Wreck is headed for a depression. Georgia, on the other hand, is bound for glory. How do I know that? Because Georgia’s recruiting class is ranked second in the SEC. Georgia Tech is out of sight — 42nd in the nation, I see.

I’m not much of an authority on this stuff, but when I see the picture of a husky kid looking uncomfortable, big body bulging in a suit and a tie, maybe the first dress-up he has ever done, I say a prayer for his future.

Not in football, but life. Business. Parenthood. Community.

He may live to be 80 or more, and what will football have added to the last 50 years of his life?

Oh, well, I’ve raged on long enough, but it does bother me, the proud conclusion that signing day is a huge success. That “Dream Team” is only the first stage of a future yet to be determined.

Furman Bisher is one of the deans of American sports writing. The longtime Atlanta sports journalist is a member of the Georgia and Atlanta Sports Halls of Fame and in addition to his newspaper writing has authored multiple books on major figures like Hank Aaron and Arnold Palmer. He writes periodic columns for the Daily Post.