National Signing Day, when high school football players sign letters of intent to play football at the college level, has become a spectacle. The heightened attention paid to recruits by websites like Rivals and Scout.com and the uncanny ability of the internet to keep tabs on the best of the best, combined with ESPN’s television coverage of the entire day, make National Signing Day feel like the Super Bowl.
For better or for worse, this has led recruits to contribute to the manufactured hype with their own sometimes outlandish pagentery. No longer do top recruits simply place two or three hats in front of them and select the one with the logo of the school of their choice. That would be too straightforward, too simple. Kids are going all out, filming videos, using props and even jumping out of airplanes.
Here are some of the craziest gimmicks we saw on National Signing Day 2016.
Rashan Gary Rolls Up in a Limo
Does being the consensus No. 1 recruit in the country mean you get to roll up to your signing day announcement in a limo? If you’re Rashan Gary, a defensive lineman out of New Jersey, then yeah, it does. After getting dropped off at ESPN headquarters, Gary announced that he’s headed to Michigan to play for head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Brandon Burton Plays Paintball
Brandon Burton, a four-star safety out of California, took his buddies to a paintball course to announce where he’d be signing. With five of his friends wearing jerseys of the schools he was considering, Burton navigates his way through flying pellets until he reaches the “flag” at the end of the course, emblazed with the name of the school he had chosen. Spoiler alert: It’s UCLA.
Deontay Anderson Goes Sky Diving
The bar has been set. Deontay Anderson, another four-star safety out of Texas, collaberated with Bleacher Report to announce his intention to play at Ole Miss by jumping out of a plane. Falling through three targets that had been superimposed in the sky, each with a different school name inside to narrow things down to his top three, Anderson finally hits the ground, only to unveil that he’d been wearing an Ole Miss shirt underneath his jumpsuit the entire time. Couldn’t he have saved five minutes and unzipped it at the beginning? Oh well.
Michail Carter Brings A Pet
What better way to commit to the University of Georgia and become a Bulldog for life than by bringing an actual bulldog to make your announcement? That’s what defensive end Michail Carter thought. He brought a bulldog to his high school to help announce his commitment to his home-state school.