If you're a college football recruiting junkie, Wednesday is a day that has been circled on your calendar for months: National Signing Day. ESPNU will be ramping up their coverage this year to new heights, and will be airing the announcements from 17 recruits on Wednesday, starting with top-ranked Robert Nkemdiche at 7:30 AM. The coverage will continue throughout the day in a massive 11 hour block of coverage hosted by Rece Davis and Dari Nowkhah, along with recruiting gurus Tom Luginbill and Craig Haubert, ESPN analysts Mike Belotti and Rod Gilmore, and guest analysts (as well as former SEC head coaches) Gene Chizik and Derek Dooley.
The people who care most about recruiting will be, quite frankly, not getting their information from ESPN. We wrote last year about ESPN's failures in covering recruiting last year, and most of the same points are still valid this year. Looking at their planned coverage of Signing Day this year, portions seem a little puzzling with several reporters with absolutely no ties to recruiting embedded at various schools. Pedro Gomez interviewing Kevin Sumlin about his class at Texas A&M? It'll be a strange sight to say the least.
ESPN is trying, and I'll give them credit for that. But their coverage of recruiting pales in comparison to their wall-to-wall coverage of the NFL Draft, which started once the college football season began in September. Because it happened the day before Signing Day, you're not likely to see much coverage of Dontre Wilson's flip from Oregon to Ohio State for instance. If they put some of that NFL Draft level effort towards recruiting, maybe they could make some inroads in a crowded market dominated by Rivals, Scout, and 24/7.
College football recruiting has become a year round sport on its own. It almost seems to me like ESPN's 11 hours of coverage is Bristol saying "Signing Day is a thing, people love it, let's try to dominate the coverage like we do with all other major events!" The only problem with this expanded coverage is that ESPN isn't nearly as proficient at covering recruiting the other 364 days of the year.