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Every class is great, every recruit a hidden gem with excellent character who fits a need.
Fax machines aren’t the only thing dusted off and put to use on national signing day.
After the letters had been signed and the faxes sent, 125 FBS coaches headed to their press conferences and all were in agreement: This year’s class is great, it fills needs, and it will be best judged later, and not by star rankings.
"Every coach around the country says they like their class, but I really do like our class,” East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeil said.
Or was it Nick Saban? Or Lane Kiffin? Or Charlie Weis? Or Chris Petersen?
“This is always like Christmas to me,” new Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said.
Yep, a Christmas with no coal, neckties or socks. We’re all getting that video game system or drum kit or bicycle we wanted.
Here, we've compiled a sampling of the signing day coaching cliches from yesterday’s press conferences. A few caveats, though: We didn’t count coaches thanking assistants and support staff (really, you’d have to kinda be a jerk not to). We also didn’t count coaches who talked about “filling needs.”
Also, many coaches used multiple signing day cliches, sometime within the same sentence. We applaud their efficiency, but we’re only taking one cliche per coach.
BEST CLASS EVER
Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss: “I think today has the possibility of being a program changer.”
James Franklin, Vanderbilt: “This is our best class.”
Doc Holliday, Marshall: “There’s no doubt we’re better personnel-wise than we’ve been since I’ve been here.”
June Jones, SMU: "We think as coaches this is our best-looking class physically, along with our best athletically at all positions, since coming to SMU.”
Curtis Johnson, Tulane: "This is a special class, a dream class for us."
Bob Davie, New Mexico: “I think the word is out. You go around and it's kind of amazing ... that New Mexico and Albuquerque are kind of hidden gems.”
Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette: “It will grade out as the most-talented class in school history, but the true test of their quality will be determined on the field in two or three years.”
Dennis Franchionie, Texas State: “This is the best class that we have been able to sign here.”
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
Lane Kiffin, USC: “This is certainly a class of quality over quantity.”
Larry Fedora, North Carolina: “Quality over quantity is the way I like to talk about it.”
JUDGE THIS CLASS LATER
Nick Saban, Alabama: “We had a good recruiting year, but again I think it's hard to make predictions about the guys you recruited today, and where they are going to be two or three years from now.”
Will Muschamp, Florida: You can pull out your tape recorders from the previous two years and we will know about this class in two or three years.”
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State: “It's not really where you come in at, it's where you finish.”
Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech: “I think this will go down as an outstanding recruiting class. Time will tell, but I really like the athletic ability in this class and the size in our linemen.”
Tony Levine, Houston: “We redshirted about 20 freshmen last season and when you speculate a recruiting class, you can't fairly answer who I going to stand out until a few years down the road. You need to let the class play out.”
Bill Snyder, Kansas State: “As we've always maintained, it takes several years to accurately assess the quality of a recruiting class and the young men who represent it.”
Mack Brown, Texas: “We need to evaluate this class four or five years from now and see who is playing. A lot of times perception is not reality with these guys.”
Norm Chow, Hawaii: “We need to temper our enthusiasm and reserve judgment on this class until 2-3 years from now.”
Rich Rodriguez, Arizona: “You definitely need to wait a few years before you can evaluate a recruiting class.”
REFERENCES TO THE STAR RANKINGS
Brian Polian, Nevada: “These guys are what we are looking for here. The star system and the rankings mean nothing to us.”
Todd Graham, Arizona State: “A team is not just about talent. It's not just about how many stars a person has and what you see out there.”
Bobby Petrino, Western Kentucky: “We don’t go out placing an emphasis on rankings or stars, but we go out trying to find the right guys that will fit our system, and I believe that we were able to do that.”
P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan: “I think all of these kids are football players, period. You take all of the rankings and the ‘stars’ out of it and you look at the tape and we needed to find football players. That is what we found.”
PLAYERS WHO FIT OUR PROGRAM
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa: “I think for the most part we fit most of the needs that we felt were important. And most importantly I think we found players that we feel are going to fit our program.”
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern: "We as a staff are confident we've signed a group of young men who are tremendous fits for our program athletically, academically and socially.”
Jim Grobe, Wake Forest: “Lots of guys who love to play football and are really good football players who fit at Wake Forest.”
Justin Fuente, Memphis: “I think it's another step in the right direction to building our football program.”
Paul Pasqualoni, Connecticut: “What we're trying to do in building the program, and it's hard to do it overnight, we're trying to recruit pro-type size guys.”
Willie Taggart, Western Kentucky: “These coaches wanted to be here and these players wanted to be here. That's what it's going to take to build this program - a bunch of guys that want to chase greatness."
Paul Haynes, Kent State: “We wanted to get our kind of guys. And that's what we got."
Sonny Dykes, Cal: "We made a concerted and successful effort to sign both the best players we could and also the student-athletes that we thought would be the best fits at Cal.”
KIDS WITH CHARACTER
Les Miles, LSU: "I think it has quality and players with good character and integrity.”
Tim Beckman, Illinois: “We were able to add quality depth at several positions and upgraded the total athleticism of the team across the board.”
Bo Pelini, Nebraska: “I’m excited about this class, I think it adds a lot to our football team, not only with talented football players but tremendous young men, a lot of character type of kids that I want to coach, and kids we want to represent our university, the state and our fans.”
Bill O’Brien, Penn State: “This is a group of high character kids who are tough, go to class and do things the right way.”
Sean Kugler, UTEP: “We feel like we not only added some outstanding football players, but some outstanding student-athletes with strong character.”
Charlie Strong, Louisville: “It is key that we recruit character – young men that want to be a part of something special – height, speed, football awareness, toughness – that’s what’s critical when we go out to recruit.”
Scott Shafer, Syracuse: "I'm really excited about this class because it represents high character men who really love that game of football and treat it with respect.”
Pete Lembo, Ball State: ”We have added a lot of talent to our roster with this class, but perhaps more importantly, we are surrounding ourselves with some terrific leaders and charismatic personalities.”
Jeff Quinn, Buffalo: “What stood out most to me with the entire signing class of 2013, was the fact that these are tremendous leaders and winners.”
Dan Enos, Central Michigan: “It is a group of gifted, high character, and hard-working individuals that will contribute to our program on the football field.”
Matt Campbell, Toledo: “From top to bottom, this is a class of high-caliber players who have high-caliber character.”
GETTING MORE ATHLETIC, FASTER, BIGGER, STRONGER
David Shaw, Stanford: “When you look at our 2013 class, you will see size. You will see athleticism. You will see toughness.”
Kyle Whittingham, Utah: “We definitely feel we became a bigger, faster football team with this recruiting class.”
Bill Blankenship, Tulsa: “With this class, we are excited about getting more athletic and just recruiting really good football players. Overall, we felt like we needed to continue to get bigger and faster, and when I say bigger, I really mean taller and longer. Those athletes with length have an opportunity to grow into being much bigger players."
George O’Leary, UCF: “The three key elements that we looked for was obviously range, speed and versatility”
Rod Carey, Northern Illinois: "Overall, when you look at this class, it's dominated by skill, which it should be. The skill has power and speed and that's what I love about it. Every guy that's fast is powerful and every guy that's powerful has good speed."
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State: “Without everyone pulling together and without the use of airplanes it would be difficult to put a class like this together.”
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma: “We really addressed some of the major needs that we needed.”
Garrick McGee, UAB: “They were recruiting guys that were very highly recruited. There were teams in our area that were after these players and our coaching staff had to stay firm on the things that we believe in. There was a lot of negative recruiting going on, and I want to give our coaching staff credit for sticking to our principles.”
MOMENTS OF CANDOR
Urban Meyer, Ohio State: “Our first year together as a coaching staff last year did not count because that was not a coaching staff. That was a bunch of guys coming together like a bunch of gypsies trying to find players anywhere we could find them. We did pretty good.”
Steve Spurrier, South Carolina: “The only thing I know, back in 2008, I think Florida had the No. 1 class, and two years later that No. 1 class drove Urban Meyer to retirement. Of course, he came back a year later and he's an excellent coach, but I know later there were comments that that No. 1 class just didn't pan out. Of course, it usually pans out at Alabama every year. But, again, recruiting is extremely important, but after they get there is really what's most important.
Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati: “I’m going to start teaching a class on how to sign a recruiting class in 30 days. I think I’ve done it three or four times now, but it doesn’t get any easier.”