I understand the appeal of National Signing Day. Like the NFL draft, everybody starts anew with fresh blood that, unless you're UTEP, instills hope for the future.
Mainly because, despite a supposed banner year for the program on the field in 2010 and a new head coach, little has changed when it comes to college football recruiting at UConn.
Sixteen recruits hailing from all over the country make up Paul Pasqualoni's first UConn recruiting class, and by all accounts, it's one of the best in the program's history. Despite losing Randy Edsall in the recruiting home stretch, Coach P and his assistants -- a group comprised of Edsall leftovers and Pasqualoni's senior-citizen pals -- have nabbed eight three-stars recruits (per Rivals) -- two of whom (QB Michael Nebrich, LB Jefferson Ashiru) are ranked nationally at their positions (Nos. 30 and 59, respectively) -- which is only one fewer than last year, when Edsall hauled in a team-record nine three-stars.
And yet, despite winning the Big East title and playing in the Fiesta Bowl, the Huskies are still well behind the entire conference in the recruiting rankings (as of 3 p.m.-ish ET). UConn is, once again, dead last in the Big East in recruiting in 2011, with No. 7 Syracuse bringing in five more three-stars ... and only slightly ahead of UTEP.
But does it matter?
On some level, it does. Players are the life blood of any team; all coaches will admit that. And getting those with perceived greater raw abilities is an obvious leg up.
But UConn's terrible recruiting classes just lifted the program onto one of the biggest stages in all of college football, in just its sixth year as a member of the Big East. And even though their Fiesta Bowl berth was a product more of terrible competition than particularly brilliant on-the-field play, the seven teams that have dominated the Huskies in recruiting in all six of those years had the same opportunity to take advantage of the wide-open field.
Each and every year at this time, Edsall would stand in front of a sparse pack of media members and spout off a trite-as-they-come speech about how recruiting rankings are bullshit. And although his message was partly program propaganda to cover up a small PR blemish (no one wants to be last in anything), he was right.
The Huskies have turned themselves into conference contenders with relative recruiting scraps. And even when they do nab a high-profile hire -- Dwayne Difton, anyone? -- the chances they live up to the hype is still anybody's guess.
Until UConn makes waves on the recruiting trail, it will never be able to compete nationally. But while its unheralded classes may get blown out by the likes of Oklahoma, the same two- and three-stars at least got it there. And for a team just nine years removed from the (full-fledged) D-1A primordial ooze, that'll do. ... For now, at least.
And yet, everything I just wrote could be dead wrong.
That's the beauty of college recruiting. And that's why I don't care much for it any more.