National Signing Day has become bigger and bigger as the media evolves to serve the recruiting needs of dedicated college football fans. FOX Sports, CBS Sports, and Yahoo! Sports all go all-out on National Signing Day with various shows and coverage. ESPN has taken matters to an entirely new level and treat National Signing Day like it’s the NFL Draft.
ESPNU schedules TV announcements for top recruits, and they have cameras in the “war room” to monitor the reactions of coaches expecting to receive a signed letter of intent from players. Ole Miss was the big winner on National Signing Day this year. They pulled in what many felt was the top recruiting class in the country and were featured prominently throughout the day Wednesday on ESPNU. Their coaches were shown celebrating each time a recruit chose to sign with them.
But did you realize that the reactions from the coaches shown on TV were actually staged?
Out of respect to the coaches, many recruits notify schools of their decision before they make their televised announcement. Such was the case for Ole Miss, which received signed letters of intent from some recruits in advance.
Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples had an outstanding article that explains how Ole Miss assembled the top class in the country. In the article, he mentions that Ole Miss received a faxed letter of intent from OL Laremy Tunsil at 9:00 a.m. ET Wednesday — the first moment players could send in their signed letters. Tunsil’s announcement wasn’t until 30 minutes later on TV, which means that although the Ole Miss coaches were elated, their reactions were not of genuine surprise.
Here’s how it looked on TV: