Whew. National Signing Day truly wore me out -- and I didn't even have to sign off on the next 3 or 4 years of my life or field a gazillion questions like Beaufort High's Justin Parker and other highly touted recruits ended up doing Wednesday.
Beaufort County saw four of its football players sign on to compete at the college level, making for a speck of the hundreds of players nationwide who snugged numerous hats on their heads and inked their John Hancocks on the dotted line before adoring relatives and flashing cameras.
Likewise, my string of online stories, blog posts, tweets and print piece only offered so much of what I observed from the day that was. Here's what was left on the cutting room floor:
-As one coach pointed out to me afterward, Justin Parker's well-attended press conference was quite the contrast from Devin Taylor's low-key announcement in 2008. Unlike the standing-room only crowd of about 50 or 60 family, friends and media that showed up to take in Parker's presser, only a handful of people witnessed Taylor's decision to attend the University of South Carolina.
I guess that fits Taylor's quiet personality, but it also shows the upwardly veering trajectory that this Signing Day circus is taking.
Check out Justin Jarrett's column this weekend for more on this topic.
-As I reported earlier Wednesday, Parker actually gave a verbal commitment to Clemson about two weeks ago. What I didn't know was that he did so while playing a video game.
According to Greg Wallace's blog for the Anderson Independent-Mail, Swinney told the story of Parker calling him to say "I'm playing a video game and playing with Clemson."
Swinney's response? "I hope that's a good sign."
The rest is history.
-According to Parker, Byrnes tailback Marcus Lattimore didn't make a phone call to the state's top linebacker prospect Tuesday night. Instead, Lattimore simply texted Parker after his announcement, saying something along the lines of "I did it. I'm going to USC. We need you."
-To stay up on the latest recruiting news, I've often checked out the various Clemson and USC message boards. It doesn't take long to realize how entangled these people are with their favorite school's happenings, but what I saw today on a Gamecocks board about Parker's recruitment was wild, to say the least.
In the course of three hours, Justin went from a must-have prospect to a traitor for even considering Clemson to a player the Gamecocks could live without after it became evident he was a Tiger. In between, I was accused of being his brother and a Clemson homer (since that falls right in line with my UNC ties).
Like Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said, "I'm a man!" But take it easy on these teenagers, folks. It's their four years of college, not yours.
-With the help of Parker and Battery Creek's Ricky Chaney, Clemson finished in the top 20 on most recruiting class rankings, while USC ended up in the top 25. Parker's decision likely had something to do with that, but it's become evident that Swinney has a way of wooing kids to the Upstate.
-I wonder how many hats were touched, worn and pushed aside by players Wednesday. And what do they end up doing with the hats of the schools they didn't pick?
-I doubt it hits most of these guys until their freshman year in college, but how weird must it be to go from the cream of the crop today to the bottom of the totem pole for the upcoming season? You know, when the same coaches who sat in your living room saying how much they needed you and did the cha-cha slide with your Mom are now yelling in your grill like a drill sergeant.
-Holiday breaks, player reunions and the annual USC-Clemson rivalry just got a bit more interesting for Beaufort High. With Parker in orange and purple and Devin Taylor and Jimmy Legree in garnet and black, who do the Eagle faithful cheer for?
-On the journalism side of things, it hit me again today just how much this industry is changing. With this final blog post, I will have put seven pieces of online news, blogs, tweets and video -- all before Thursday's paper comes out with my print story reiterating a good chunk of this info.
Still, I can't bring myself to imagine a world without newspapers.
-Speaking of video, check Thursday's online article on Signing Day to see Parker's hat trick in real time.
-Last, but certainly not least, I must thank my beautiful wife for bearing with me and sharing her birthday with perhaps the biggest day in prep sports. She's a great woman, indeed.