Most students announce their college decision at the dinner table. For some of college football’s top recruits, they make their intentions known live on national television.
Wednesday’s 11-hour ESPNU National Signing Day Special beginning at 8 a.m. ET is highlighted by 13 student athletes joining a roster of former top recruits who have announced their college decision on ESPNU. With the help of Shawn Murphy, senior coordinating producer, Front Row looks back at four ESPNU National Signing Day announcements (in chronological order).
Class of 2006: OT Andre Smith signed with Alabama
Murphy: Smith was the first National Signing Day announcement we had on ESPNU on the day itself. When Smith brought out the houndstooth hat [in honor of legendary Alabama coach Paul (Bear) Bryant], it instantly became a memorable moment.
Smith’s Career: Two-time All SEC; All-American; first-round draft pick by Cincinnati Bengals
Class of 2007: RB Joe McKnight signed with USC
Murphy: McKnight was ESPNU’s first No. 1 overall ranked recruit we had announce on National Signing Day. Even though in the control room we never know the recruits’ decision ahead of time, when McKnight came out with a red sweater and a yellow tie, we had a good idea he was about to be a Trojan.
McKnight’s Career: Rushed for more than 1,000 yards his junior season at USC; fourth-round draft pick by New York Jets; 2011 All-Pro citation as kick returner; recently signed by Kansas City Chiefs
Class of 2009: LB Manti Te’o signed with Notre Dame
Murphy: Te’o, a native of Hawaii, was the first and only recruit we have had outside the continental United States.
Te’o’s Career: All-American; Maxwell Award Winner; second-round draft pick by San Diego Chargers
Class of 2010: OLB Bjoern Werner signed with Florida State
Murphy: Werner, who is from Germany but played high school football in Connecticut, is the only recruit to date who made his announcement live from ESPN headquarters in Bristol.
Werner’s Career: All-American; All-ACC; ACC Defensive Player of the Year; first-round draft pick by Indianapolis Colts