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February 12, 2007

From the boards: Signing Day's other winners

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Here's another chance for us to turn the spotlight on the fans at Rivals.com. In this space we'll take a look at some of the most interesting or entertaining threads on Rivals.com message boards this week.

Signing Day is in the books, and we're already gearing up for the offseason and thinking about spring practice.

In this week's installment, posters looked back at some of the surprise classes of Signing Day, your favorite teams to watch and your memories of Texas A&M basketball coach Shelby Metcalf.

The Rivals.com community discussed these things and more over the course of the week. Here is our recap in this week's From the Boards.

The most "impressive" recruiting class
Poster joefrench started a thread on the football recruiting board asking other fans who they believed had the most "impressive" signing class for 2007. It's not necessarily the best class, but that the coaching staff that did the best job on Signing Day given some tough circumstances (such as the team's record or a coaching change).

The first pick was for Tennessee, who started recruiting its 2007 class on the heels of a 5-6 season in 2005. The Volunteers took advantage of an above average senior class in the state of Tennessee and had the No. 3 overall class.

USC rightfully got some mentions despite only 18 signees. Among those 18 were six five-stars and 10 four stars in the second-ranked class in the country.

Other posters brought up Illinois (ranked 17th in the class of 2007 after a 2-10 season), North Carolina (ranked 16th following a 3-9 season) and Alabama (ranked 10th despite going through all of December without a coach).

Three of our recruiting analysts also weighed in on their "most impressive" and surprising signing classes for 2007:

JC Shurburtt's pick: North Carolina.
"It happened so quickly. They were sitting on 10 or so commitments a couple weeks before Signing Day and all of the sudden the class fell into place with Marvin Austin, Greg Little. I thought maybe this wasn't their year, but they finished strong."

John Talman's pick: Oklahoma State.
"They ended up with two of top 10 players in Texas (Dez Bryant and Richetti Jones). They've recruited well in Texas last two years, but this year that came to fruition. They were fourth in the Big 12, but they had a pretty nice class."

Jeremy Crabtree's pick: Illinois.
"They were 2-9 and they did a tremendous job. Ron Zook is one of the most genuine coaches that kids talk about. He tells them that they can play early if they're good enough."

Remembering Shelby Metcalf
Some of the fondest memories of Texas A&M basketball coach Shelby Metcalf came from the Texas message boards.

Texas fans remembered Metcalf's wit and sense of humor.

Poster royalewithcheese referred to one of the most memorable quotes from the Aggies coach who died at age 76 Thursday after a lengthy illness.

Metcalff referred to a player who received four Fs and a D. He recalled he told the student, "Son, it looks to me like you're spending too much time on one subject."

Zhorn referred to another quote in which Metcalf effectively summed up the coaching profession: "One day they're naming a street after ya...the next day they're chasin' you down it."

Check out more memories of Metcalff on this thread.

Pro Bowl numbers
A good "numbers" post this week came from skull N crossbones on the college football board.

He broke down where this year's Pro Bowlers (offense and defense only. Sorry, special teamers) went to high school.

It was little surprise that the big high school recruiting states (California, Texas and Florida) led the way.

Here's is his breakdown:

Pro Bowlers
1. California, 13
2. Texas, 11
3. Florida, 10
4. Alabama, 6
5. Georgia and North Carolina, 5 each
6. Virginia, 4
7. Oklahoma, Michigan, Tennessee, Louisiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, 3 each
8. Washington, D.C., Arkansas, 2 each

Rivals.com took a look at this last year and came up with somewhat similar results (granted, many of the same players showed up both years). The Pro Bowl players were a little more evenly distributed last year, other than 12 representatives from California. The Golden State was followed by seven players from Texas and six players from Florida (including special teamers).

Where does your remote stop on game day?
Here's a thread we didn't get to last week, but it worth highlighting now that National Signing Day is behind us.

Poster a Wolfdad posed this question on the college football board: Who is the most fun team to watch in college football?

Here are some of your comments:

"I gotta say I was so scared for the other team this year every time I watched Arkansas play, even my own Gators in the SEC (Championship) game. You were just sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for them to break a 70-yard run, by the second half you KNEW the defenses would be worn out and big plays would be happening more frequently. This is quite an amazing fact considering how lacking in the passing game this year they were."

"Until Randy Walker passed away, Northwestern was the most fun team to watch in (college football). They seemed to keep both sides in the game. Lots of 50-40 types of wins and losses for them. No game was out of reach as either a win or loss until the final gun sounded. I hope Pat Fitzgerald and NU can recover this year. Now, it's got to be Texas Tech. I'm a huge fan of Mike Leach. He's an interesting guy."

"I enjoy Texas Tech also but only if our guys aren't the ones playing them. Another one strangely enough is Navy. I love the run option and they do more with less talent then any other team in the nation."
-PO1 Mike

"Hawaii was the most fun to watch this year if you love a 4 and 5 receiver set with constant passing and lots of points generated. Colt Brennan is a flat out stud and Bess, Rivers, and Grice-Mullen are a solid core of receivers. I saw them play Purdue, Oregon State and ASU. And, with Brennan a Heisman candidate next year, they'll for sure be on a lot more than 3 games."

We also polled a few Rivals.com writers for their take:

Bobby Burton, Rivals.com editor: "I've always liked watching Steve Spurrier's offenses. I just liked his style, his offensive mind-set of taking it to the opponent. And when he doesn't have players that fit his system, it's even better. At Duke, early at Florida and early at South Carolina, he had just OK talent and didn't really have guys that he had recruited to play his scheme. He was always taking over for a run-first coach. So it was like watching a brilliant scientist perform brain surgery using awkward instruments. I mean, Syvelle Newton, he goes from a quarterback, to a receiver, to back to quarterback - how can that not be fun to watch, just to see what the Ol' Ball Coach is going to think of next."

Steve Megargee, national football writer: "I consider West Virginia the most exciting team to watch because of its personnel more than its scheme. When they're on TV, you never want to leave the room because Pat White and Steve Slaton can score from anywhere on the field. If we're talking about coaches rather than players, is there any doubt after the Fiesta Bowl that Boise State will be fun to watch as long as Chris Petersen is running the show?"

David Fox, national football writer: "Steve already took my pick in West Virginia, so I'll throw a few other ones out there. Texas Tech is always a good bet with Mike Leach's Air Raid offense. You never want to miss any of press conferences, either. It's too bad New Mexico State isn't on television much. Leach's old boss at Kentucky, Hal Mumme, brought that same offense to the Aggies. I'm going to throw Virginia Tech in there, too. How often do you watch the punt team that closely?"

Olin Buchanan, national football writer: "Southern California: The Trojans' personnel is always impressive and when they're playing well they're just dominating. Their losses are more fun to watch than their wins because their opponents have to play at their highest level and then are always trying to hold on at the end."

Bob McClellan, national columnist: "The most fun team to watch, at least next season, should be Florida. I can't wait to see what Urban Meyer will come up with for a healthy Percy Harvin, and it will be interesting to see how he utilizes Tim Tebow. Occasionally I hear people say Tebow is going to be the next Dan Kendra, the muscle-bound former FSU quarterback turned fullback. There's no question Tebow is HUGE for a QB, but he runs so well and I think will develop into an excellent passer as well. The Gators will have as much pure speed as any team in the country, and Meyer will spread out defenses and get guys like Harvin, Bubba Caldwell and some of that No. 1 signing class on the edge."

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