Networks To Air Signing Day Special
Rick Neuheisel’s role on Signing Day is different in a lot of ways these days.
Most notably is the remarkable amount of sleep he gets.
The former UCLA, Colorado and Washington head coach is now a football analyst for the Pac-12 Networks. He will team up with fellow analyst Yogi Roth and anchor Mike Yam to host Pac-12 Football Signing Day Special on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Wednesday is National Letter of Intent Day, and schools from around the Pac-12 will announce most, if not all, of their 2013 recruiting classes. Pac-12 Football Signing Day Special will feature interviews with coaches around the conference as well as analysis from Neuheisel and Roth.
Neuheisel spent 12 years as a college head coach, meaning he spent 12 Tuesday nights staying up late putting the finishing touches on his recruiting classes.
“I have the urge to rub my eyes just remembering those Tuesday nights in the office trying to talk kids off a ledge or into what I think is a terrific opportunity,” Neuheisel said. “It’s a culmination of unbelievable efforts of the coaching staff and a lot of support people behind the scenes who have worked their tails off to get the best and brightest to come to their university.”
The Pac-12 features two new coaches who will be bringing his first recruiting class into the conference – Sonny Dykes at Cal and Mark Helfrich at Oregon. It’s much newer for Dykes, who came to Berkeley from Louisiana Tech. Helfrich was the Ducks’ offensive coordinator who got the head job when Chip Kelly left Oregon to become the head coach of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.
UCLA, USC and Washington are all expected to bring in top-15 classes nationally, while Cal and Arizona could have strong classes as well.
“The best part about Signing Day is recognizing all the effort from all parties involved,” said Roth, who served on USC’s coaching staff under Pete Carroll. “It’s been sometimes a two, three or four-year relationship with the student-athlete and his family, and the other way around as well. It’s definitely a fun day for everyone involved. At the same time, it could be a crushing day. It’s fun to see the talent at this level that is coming into the conference.”
Some of the recruiting classes unveiled Wednesday will feature a majority of players from the same state as the university. Others will see schools reaching out to all corners of the country to secure new talent.
“They have to find that fine balance between protecting their in-state turf as opposed to going out and finding guys that can correct the problem,” Neuheisel said. “One of the things you want to do for your constituents – the people who are your hardcore fans – is you want to keep the best and the brightest close to home. But you also have to go out there and compete every Saturday on a consistent basis. It’s a tightrope coaches have to walk.”
Some classes will include more junior college transfers, as some schools feel they are just a player or two away from taking that next step. Others will bring in a class that has an eye more on the future.
“Do you fix a program or build a program?” Roth said. “You can see that as you look around the conference. If you feel you are a player or two away, you may go get him at a JC. If it’s important to a school that you continue to pump out players and make sure your relationships are good, you bring in the type of players where you can win two or three years down the road.”
Fans can follow Signing Day all day long beginning at 6 a.m. PT on Pac-12.com. Senior correspondent Bryan Fischer will provide text and video commentary as letters come in to each school.
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