Wednesday is a great day for high school football players who will sign on the dotted line to continue their education and football career at the next level. But for the fans, this day can sometimes be termed as a disappointment waiting to happen.
National Signing Day is important. It is how college football teams get better. It's the hot stove league and free agency wrapped into one day. Since college football rosters turn over regularly, this is the day teams reload and plan for the next few seasons.
But how many of us have been all excited about a certain player, one we believe might be a special prospect and then wind up getting disappointed a few years later?
Perhaps they all balance out. Perhaps the five-stars who disappoint are evened out with the three- or four-stars who surprise us. But it sometimes can be difficult to forget about the ones who got our hopes up a bit too high.
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A few years ago when I asked the question on the radio of who was the biggest disappointment in recruiting, Georgia Tech fans called with one name -- Charlie Dudish. He was a two-sport star from Avondale. Dudish was a second-round pick of the San Francisco Giants in the 1968 baseball draft. He turned down $100,000 from the Giants to play football at Georgia Tech.
But Dudish was a disappointment at Georgia Tech. He never lived up to the hype and was kicked off the team as a sophomore.
Jamie Harris is the name many Georgia fans bring up in this conversation. Like Dudish, Harris was a quarterback. He was from Danville, Virginia, and many believed he was the best in the country. But instead of replacing Buck Belue as Vince Dooley's quarterback, Harris never played and transferred to Wake Forest, where he was a career backup.
Georgia has had several players who were labeled as "the next Herschel Walker." Well, we all know there will never be another Herschel Walker. It's just impossible. But the search for a special running back has been a three-plus decade drama.
Isaiah Crowell, Jasper Sanks, Odell Collins and Albert Hollis were all busts in Athens. Sanks stings perhaps more than the others. He was expected to be as good as Jamal Lewis, a Georgia prep star who shined at Tennessee. Sanks had one decent season (896 yards in 1999), but he never lived up to his star potential.
Then there was George Lombard, the star running back from Lovett. He never made it to Athens because the Atlanta Braves threw a lot of money at him. Lombard made it to the big leagues with the Braves and three other teams, and he's now the Los Angeles Dodgers' first base coach. But if he had played for the Bulldogs in the mid-1990s, Ray Goff might still be Georgia's coach. Lombard was that good in high school and might have been a star in Athens, but he chose baseball instead.
Now you know why Georgia fans loved Todd Gurley so much.
Two more stick out with Georgia. Remember Mike Fredenberg from Kennesaw? He was one of the many offensive linemen brought in with Eric Zeier in 1991. That whole class of linemen disappointed. How about Marquis 'Mudcat' Elmore? He was a star at Charlton County, but Elmore never did much at all with the Bulldogs.
Every team has a list of disappointing recruits, and more than likely a few we have high hopes for Wednesday will let us down in a few years. We just have to hope there are more good stories than bad ones for the prospects we hope can make our college teams better for the next four years.
Listen to "The Bill Shanks Show" from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.