Between the Hashes: Coffee, Lion King, shrubbery and the best of Signing Day 2014
Throughout the college football season, Campus Union delved into the fun, the weird and the wacky of college football with a series called Between the Hashes. It was a way to decompress from the madness of the week, and to find a few things that you might have missed. Since National Signing Day has now come and gone and there aren’t many things more fun, weird or wacky than watching kids put on hats for 12 hours, we felt it deserved its own special edition.
We made it through Signing Day. Another new crop of players is set to play some football, and that’s exciting. Sure, the spectacle of frantically waiting to see where a guy will go — with cameras posted up in a high school gym (while students really should be analyzing the symbolism of the green light in The Great Gatsby) and a daylong marathon of coverage on the ESPN family of networks — seems excessive. But college football is all about glorious excess. Picking on high schoolers who are enjoying their big moments seems pretty pointless.
No matter what your feelings are about the day, it’s not going away. Luckily, there are quite a few things to enjoy about the event beyond the tried-and-true fax machine jokes and the hat switcheroos. If you weren’t able to watch the madness or refresh your favorite social media site on Wednesday because of things like “school” or “jobs” or “working out,” we’ve got you covered. Here’s the best of the rest from National Signing Day 2014.
BYE FELICIA, HI ‘CANES
One of my favorite things in sports is when someone is the son or daughter of a noteworthy man or woman. That includes authors, musicians, actors, politicians and other athletes. Well, Miami got a pretty noteworthy example in quarterback Brad Kaaya, a four-star prospect from West Hills, Calif. His mom is Angela Means-Kaaya, also known as Felicia from Friday.
Brad Kaaya faxed his paperwork at 4AM. In honor of his mother id like to drop a BYE FELICIA in the general direction of #kaaya2boise
— Sebastian’s Pub (@SebastiansPub) February 5, 2014
People, including myself, were excited.
— C. Duran Williams (@duran603) February 6, 2014
Congrats @angela_means Kaaya on your son Brad’s spot at Miami! Now – can you tell me? Was it “Felicia” or “Felisha?” ;-)
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) February 5, 2014
heheh RT @martinrickman: wait a second new miami qb brad kaaya’s mom was felicia in friday that’s the best
— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) February 5, 2014
CanesInsight had an interview with Means-Kaaya in 2013, where she talked about her acting past:
“I had a nice career on the road as a national headliner. I was a stand-up comic who opened for everyone from Chris Rock to Jamie Foxx. Chris Tucker and I worked together all the time and I was doing things. I was five months pregnant at the premiere (of Friday). When I was a stand-up, that’s what I was. When I was an actor, that’s what I was. When I became a mother, the kid just stole my heart and that’s what I am,” said Means-Kaaya.
The Circle of Life
Last June, I did a quick #lookit post for SB Nation on a potential All-Name Team candidate. He didn’t have a bio page on any of the major football recruiting sites, and he wasn’t going to end up in the SEC. Still, Lion King Conway deserved our attention.
“I like my name,” says Lion King, who played on the freshman basketball team this year. On or off the court, his name attracts as much attention as a wildebeest in a pack of hyenas. When he meets new people, “They always say, ‘What? Are you serious? Is that your real name?’ And then I say, ‘Yes.’”
Now, he’ll play Division I football in the MAC at Eastern Michigan. It’s just a shame the Rapacious Bird won’t be his head coach.
The last NLI has been approved and the 2014 EMU recruiting class officially stands at 17. Our final new Eagle is…Lion King! #EMUSigningDay
— EMU Football (@EMUFB) February 5, 2014
Also, EMU athletics informs me that Lion King Conaway has legally changed his name to simply Lion King
— Kyle Austin (@kylebaustin) February 5, 2014
You know what they say: Ypsilanti means no worries.
Coffee is for closers
There aren’t many coaches who had a better Signing Day than Les Miles. He woke up early, remembered his keys and his phone, landed recruits like Malachi Dupre and Travonte Valentine, and signed previously committed top prospects, including five-star star running back Leonard Fournette. Oh, and he had his coffee delivered by the fine folks at ESPN.
Les had a pretty good day.
Hats are, well, old hat
I find nothing inherently wrong with picking a hat to select a school. I get it. It’s tradition. It makes sense. It’s easy. But it’s downright boring and borrowed interest at this point. We can do better.
Earlier this week, I suggested a number of new ways to improve Signing Day. While we still have a long way to go, a few guys stepped up to the challenge.
Lorenzo Carter went with the hat routine but added an incredible jacket to go with it.
— ESPNU (@ESPNU) February 5, 2014
Solomon Thomas didn’t let the nerds down, bringing out a tiny little tree and throwing on some taped glasses.
Solomon Thomas committed to Stanford with a tree. Bravo, sir. pic.twitter.com/GG0hfBIXfZ
— Zac Ellis (@ZacEllis) February 5, 2014
And three-star Duke signee Nico Pierre actually took one of my suggestions, using an enormous and amazing giant pen.
— Brandon Wise (@brandonwise65) February 5, 2014
Maybe Adoree’ Jackson’s bag of tricks didn’t hit all the right notes, but he deserves credit for giving it a shot. The kid loves the camera. He’ll have plenty of chances to flash his personality at USC.
(h/t College Spun)
At least his family was in on the pageantry.
— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) February 5, 2014
#WhereWillPoonaGo didn’t exactly work out the way it was intended, although Longhorns fans were certainly happy the answer was Texas. But Poona Ford was able to drop a really great video on his way into making his decision.
As a general rule, if you mention Bojangles, hold up Bojangles, eat Bojangles or even allude to Bojangles, I will write about/mention it.
These are all presented without comment. That’s how good they are.
Wish I could do NSD over again.. I’d still choose Ole Miss. It would just be more dramatic tho. I’d slap the Miss. State hat off the table.
— Emmanuel McCray (@Seven_Ohs) February 5, 2014
#Duke‘s David Cutcliffe: “I’ve never understood soft verbal. Were they whispering?”
— Laura Keeley (@laurakeeley) February 5, 2014
Saban says he’s sorry Youtube doesn’t have him doing the Wobble in addition to the Electric Slide He says, “I do that pretty well, too.” — Alex Scarborough (@AlexS_ESPN) February 5, 2014
Re: recruits who signed elsewhere, Helf joked his wife might have preferred George Clooney or Brad Pitt but “she moved on, and we will too.”
— Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) February 5, 2014
— Kevin Sumlin (@CoachSumlin) February 6, 2014
He’s oversignin’, pawwwwllll
We’ve heard plenty about coaches taking on too many recruits, using grayshirts to maneuver around restrictions and getting inventive to stick to the 85-scholarship limit. Maybe a new trend is about to emerge. Dacorius “D.J.” Law, a three-star athlete from Haines City, Fla., committed to Utah. The only problem? He also signed National Letters of Intent to Ole Miss and East Mississippi Community College.
An Ole Miss spokesman said the school is looking into it. His counterpart at Utah said that she published he had signed as soon “as I was told I could.” But, she said, she thinks the school received the letter of intent earlier in the day.
“Our compliance staff feels very good about the situation with D.J.,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said during his press conference.
Adding more weirdness to the story is this video from local TV news station Bay News 9, in which Law is clearly choosing Utah and is seen wearing a Utes hat. In at least one frame a woman behind him is wearing an Ole Miss t-shirt.
Recruiting will never not be weird.