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Mike Sorensen: Mike Sorensen: Signing day? My apathy runs deep

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If you don't know by now, Wednesday is college football's National Letter of Intent Day.

It's an exciting day for many.

For football players, it's the day they sign their name on the dotted line to the college of their choice. For football coaches, it's the culmination of a year or more of recruiting high school students whose abilities on a football field may determine their future employment. For football fans it's the day they can fantasize about the future and what players will be the stars in the coming years.

For me it's a day to shrug my shoulders and worry about what's for dinner.

Sorry for not sharing the same excitement as everyone else. I just can't get excited about a bunch of 17- and 18-year-old kids with their 3-star or 4-star ratings, whatever the heck that means, declaring where they're going to attend college the next four years or so.

I also don't know what to make of it all.

Every coach in America is excited about his prospects on Letter of Intent Day. In my 30 years as a sportswriter, I've yet to hear a coach say, "We are very disappointed because we only got a handful of the guys we really wanted. We had several great players get away at the last minute and had to settle for this sorry bunch."

On LOI Day, everybody's happy, at least they say they are.

If you go to the scouting services that spend all year tracking and rating players, you'll find out that some schools are winners and others are losers on LOI Day.

While these services might be able to tell you who the best prospects are based on their high school careers and the numbers on how big and fast the kids are, they can't project how these 18-year-olds will be when they are 21 or 22. That's up to the players themselves, how much they improve and how well they're coached.

Although a few players make an immediate impact when they get to college, usually it takes a few years to determine how good the recruited players turned out to be. It's always easier to look backward to see how good recruit classes really were.

The last two players left from Utah's 2004 class, running back Ray Stowers and John Peel, just completed their eligibility, so let's use that class as an example.

The "Cadillac" of the class as coach Urban Meyer put it, was defensive lineman Paul Soliai. After a slow start, he turned out to be pretty good, earning second-team all-MWC honors as a senior and getting drafted by the NFL. Other highly thought of recruits in February of '04 were Quinton Ganther, Brian Johnson, Brent Casteel and Robert Conley. Perhaps the best of them all was a quarterback from Timpanogos High named Paul Kruger, who never even played quarterback at Utah.

However, the majority of the players in the class turned out to be ordinary or even busts.

Stowers was called the "best player in Hawaii" by Meyer, but never earned a starting job at Utah. In four seasons, he gained less than 500 yards.

Peel was one of the five receivers in the class, but only caught one pass in four years before catching 16 last year. At least he was better than the other receivers — Desmond Hanohano, Aaron Straiten, Jordan Johnson and Justin Weatherhall-Walker, who never caught a pass at Utah.

Others in the '04 class included Chad Smith, Terrance Apted, Randy Faletoi, Nik Sonntag, Afa Garrigan, Matt Mason and Adarrious Ross. Give yourself a gold star if you've heard of any of them.

Without going into detail about the 2003 Utah class, the prize catch that year was Thomas Huff, a receiver from Arizona. One of the players worth half a sentence in a story about the recruiting class was a speedy a defensive back from California named Eric Weddle.

We all know how Weddle turned out. Huff, on the other hand, caught one pass in his entire undistinguished Ute career.

The fact is, in most recruiting classes only about half of the recruits will ever play significant minutes for their colleges, and half of those will be impact players. Many times, the 2-star recruits like Weddle turn out to be the real stars while the four-star recruits are duds.

So if you're one of those who is all geeked about Wednesday, go ahead and get excited. I believe one of the great things about sports is the anticipation and hope it brings to fans dreaming about an upcoming event or season.

As for me, I'll be more interested in Wednesday's group of recruits in about 2013 after seeing what they actually do on the football field.

e-mail: sor@desnews.com