Wednesday morning, ESPNU will air its eighth annual National Signing Day Special beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET, running all the way to 7 p.m.
Since the coverage began on the network in 2006, it has expanded and evolved from six hours to now more than 11 hours of reporting. Reporters will be stationed at 13 college campuses and 17 on-air commitments are expected from ESPN 150 players.
Top-ranked recruit Robert Nkemdiche will kick off the festivities at 7:30. The defensive end is expected to choose from among Florida, LSU or Ole Miss.
Nearly 200 people will work on the ESPNU special alone, and that’s not including the tireless efforts of the ESPN Recruiting Nation editorial team, the ESPN College Football App team, the live cut-ins from SportsCenter and additional content on ESPN3.
ESPNU has planned 120 live hits, reports and analysis from more than 23 on-air commentators throughout the day. There will also be two guest analysts involved: Gene Chizik (former Auburn head coach) and Derek Dooley (former Tennessee head coach).
And there will be a very familiar face and voice on the airwaves this time of the year: ESPN national recruiting director Tom Luginbill, who, since 2006, has been educating ESPN viewers on their teams and top recruits on National Signing Day and on the weekly ESPN Recruiting Nation show.
Luginbill, on the recruiting trail:
“Recruiting is a marathon, not a sprint.”
“At the end of the day, until pen meets paper, there are no guarantees and there is no crystal ball.”
“We are dealing with young people, and they change their minds like they change their underwear.”
On the NCAA loosening its recruiting regulations:
“An assistant coach’s life — you think it’s busy now? They better have waterproof cell phones, because they’re going to be using them in the shower.”
On Texas A&M joining the SEC:
“I know I sound like a broken record, but perception, perception, perception. In my opinion, it’s the single biggest thing that Texas A&M right now has going for them. More so than an 11-2 season, more so than a Heisman Trophy. Right now their affiliation with the SEC is playing bigger than everything else.”