Behind The ScenesNCAAF

As high school recruits put ink to paper, ESPN’s college football analysts reminisce about their Signing Days

After signing at Houston in 1987, Andre Ware -- now an ESPN analyst -- eventually the Heisman Trophy. (Credit: University of Houston Athletics)
After signing at Houston in 1987, Andre Ware — now an ESPN analyst — eventually won the Heisman Trophy. (Credit: University of Houston Athletics)

Today, 18 of the nation’s elite undecided college football recruits will discuss their commitment decisions on ESPNU during the network’s daylong coverage of National Signing Day.

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National Signing Day Coverage

ESPN Reporters In The Field

Tom Rinaldi – Alabama
Bob Holtzman – Notre Dame
Pedro Gomez – Texas A&M
Jeannine Edwards – Florida State
Josina Anderson – Michigan
Shelley Smith – Southern Cal
Allison Williams – Ole Miss
Holly Rowe – LSU
Cara Capuano – Florida
Quint Kessenich – Ohio State
Lowell Galindo – Texas
Paul Carcaterra – Auburn
Eamon McAnaney – Clemson

ESPN Studio Talent

Rece Davis
Dari Nowkhah
Derrick Dooley
Tom Luginbill
Gene Chizik
Craig Haubert
Mike Bellotti
Rod Gilmore
Kirk Herbstreit
Lou Holtz


Coverage of the event has expanded annually as fans’ appetites for recruiting news has increased. However, the first Wednesday in February has been
circled on players and coaches’ calendars for decades.

Front Row asked some of ESPN’s college football analysts to reflect on their own Signing Days.

Danny Kanell, QB, Florida State, 1992
Signing Day is a day I’ll never forget. I was 90 percent sure I was headed to Florida State, but it didn’t hit me until I signed on the dotted line that it would make me a Seminole for life. Henri Crockett — another high school senior headed to FSU — and I held a press conference at the Olive Garden and felt like superstars.

Andre Ware, QB, Houston, 1987
I’d decided a few days before National Signing Day that I was going to attend to the University of Houston. I actually felt that day that I had found a place that actually felt like home to spend the next four years. That’s what I would advise recruits. Find a place that feels like home regardless of the staff. In today’s college football world, coaches change jobs or get fired, and it’s important to find a place you are comfortable in case one of those scenarios take place.

Jesse Palmer, QB, Florida, 1997
It was with great joy and anticipation when I committed to UF early in October. National Signing Day is a reward for so many high school athletes for their hard work, dedication and commitment.

Matt Stinchcomb, OL, Georgia, 1995
I already knew where I was going and had decided long before Signing Day as did most of my teammates that were going on to play college ball, so [there was] no drama, no suspense. We sat a table in our high school cafeteria with some family and friends, no cameras or media. Nothing extraordinary, except the chicken wings. We had a huge sampler platter of wings and they were unbelievable.

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