Lots of celebration and plenty of disappointment as the smoke clears on Wednesday’s National Signing Day.
Not everybody gets to go to a national championship contender or a Power Five conference or even a Division I school. Heck, the overwhelming majority of supposed high school stars don’t get a college scholarship at all.
Therefore, if you or someone important to you got shut out on a favorite destination and pushed down the ladder to a low-profile choice, here is a bit of encouragement about what still can happen.
In Sunday’s Super Bowl, there will be as many starters from Valdosta State (Atlanta offensive tackle Ryan Schraeder) as there are from Florida State (Atlanta running back Devonta Freeman).
There will be as many players on the two rosters from Rutgers as there are from Alabama, with five each.
Notre Dame gets no one in the starting lineups, but West Alabama gets one very famous name (New England cornerback Malcolm Butler, a former Super Bowl MVP).
Monmouth has as many starters (New England wide receiver Chris Hogan) as Oklahoma (Atlanta guard Chris Chester).
Southeastern Louisiana (Atlanta cornerback Robert Alford) and Kent State (New England wide receiver Julian Edelman) are represented in the two starting lineups. Ohio State and USC are not.
Football careers, in other words, aren’t made in one day, even if it happens to be National Signing Day.
Great opportunity will be given to kids who sign with the big schools, sure, and a stronger dose of overall competition and coaching.
Just think, however, of Joe Flacco (Delaware) and Deion Branch (Jones County Junior College first and Louisville as a transfer) and Kurt Warner (Northern Iowa) and Doug Williams (Grambling) and Richard Dent (Tennessee State) and Terry Bradshaw (Louisiana Tech) and, most of all, Jerry Rice (Mississippi Valley State).
All were Super Bowl MVP’s.
All took whatever minor opportunities they were afforded and made it work in a major way, whether anyone was watching or not.