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Zen and the Art of Signing Day

Recruiting is important, but let's not lose our heads.

You don't even recognize this guy without a photo credit. So chill.
You don't even recognize this guy without a photo credit. So chill.

We are approaching both the most important and most overrated day on the college football calendar: Signing Day. Let's get one thing out of the way, recruiting is the lifeblood of any program. The recruiting rankings don't match up exactly with the actual final rankings, but there is a correlation. Great teams need great players. There's no getting around that.

While there are many high profile misses every year, and there will be many high profile misses in the future, by and large, the recruiting services get it right. More five stars turn into star players and more four stars turn into starters. They will whiff on the individuals all the time, because that's just the nature of life, but looking at the big picture, great recruiting classes beget great talent.

No one is going to confuse me for a hard core recruitnik, but I do generally follow who LSU is looking at signing and I try and stay up on the big national stories. That said, I don't follow it obsessively and I certainly don't make my own evaluations of players. At the end of the day, I trust the staff to make those evaluations.

I don't want to mock those who follow recruiting religiously because, God love them, I rely on their evaluations. I'm not going to shell out any cash to any of the recruiting services because I know a scam when I see one, but I love that there are obsessive devotees of recruiting whose expertise I can appropriate for my own use. Thanks, guys.

So, how should the non-obsessive fan follow Signing Day? Well, the first thing to remember is to not get caught up with any one player. No player, not even a guy as widely hyped as Robert Nkemdiche, can make or break a class. Sure, I'd love to have him, but if he goes to Ole Miss then that's just the way the cookie crumbles.

What is important, above all else, is to remember this simple rule: Recruiting is a numbers game. Always, always, always look at the big picture. The key is filling needs and defending your recruiting turf. LSU's class is already a success because of the consensus top ten players in the state, nine will be in purple and gold. That's really all you can ask of the staff.

Now, we're all about to panic over guys we have never seen play and have no idea if they will pan out as college players. For the past month, guys like Nkemdiche and Priest Willis have been internet celebrities. And it is cool that these kids get their moment in the sun. But come Signing Day, all that hype counts for bupkis.

Recruiting is incredibly important and Signing Day is the recruiting Super Bowl. But it is important to know we won't really know how Signing Day went for about five years. So enjoy the recruiting news, as it certainly fills the time as we ignore that we have a terrible basketball team again, but don't lose your mind over it. It matters, but we have no idea how.