By BRENNAN PRUSAK
On Wednesday, high school athletes made decisions that would change their lives forever.
On national signing day, the top unsigned football recruits from across the country decide where they are going to attend college and play football for the foreseeable future. While this is a very important and usually personal decision for the athlete, it has evolved to a news media frenzy.
Whereas athletes would once “announce” their commitment by signing in the comfort of their own homes, ESPN and other sport networks have changed the game and created a full day special broadcasting top recruits’ announcements. This has resulted in some fairly humorous displays on live TV from athletes trying to outdo each other with their creative commitments.
To start off the day, four highly recruited members of American Heritage High School took to ESPN to announce their decisions. While it appeared like it would be a fairly normal segment, things took an odd turn when two of the recruits decided to announce their decisions using a “Chucky” doll as a prop. Yes, that “Chucky,” the one that probably gave you nightmares as a kid.
While Nesta Silvera, a four-star defensive tackle that committed to Miami, simply held the doll in his hand while making his announcement, his teammate did him one better.
Four-star linebacker Andrew Chatfield reached for a University of Miami hat sitting on the table, just to drop the hat and pull the “Chucky” doll from under the table, and the doll happened to be wearing a University of Florida hat, which Chatfield proceeded to put on his own head, cementing his commitment. While there have been props used before, none have been quite as odd as this.
Up next was probably one of the most memorable moments in recent memory of national signing day. Four-star outside linebacker Quay Walker picked up and put on a University of Tennessee hat during his announcement Wednesday. While Tennessee fans across the country were surely leaping from their seats with excitement, it was short-lived.
Walker than removed the hat, threw it into the crowd, and removed his jacket and pants to reveal a Georgia polo and khakis with the Bulldogs logo plastered all over them. To top it off, he threw on a Georgia sun hat as his family members behind him revealed Georgia apparel of their own. Tennessee fans certainly weren’t happy, but it proceeded to blow up on social media along with ESPN and other sport platforms.
With the amount of news media coverage this event gets, many are beginning to worry that national signing day is becoming more of a “who can outdo who,” in regards to the most memorable announcement.
Personally, I couldn’t care less. For a lot of these kids, it’s their first time in the national spotlight, so of course they’re going to ham it up. This will be remembered as one of the most important days of their lives, so they have every right to live in the moment, and I certainly don’t mind getting a good laugh out of it either. Sports are supposed to be fun, and the news media surrounding these announcements really lets the athletes enjoy their moments.