Priya Lopes on 01 28, 2011
ESPNU will air a record 10 hours of programming and headline ESPN’s multiplatform coverage of National Signing Day with a two-set live ESPNU National Signing Day Special, Wednesday, Feb. 2. The sixth annual program will originate from ESPNU’s studios in Charlotte, N.C., and air from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. It will be simulcast in its entirety on ESPN3.com.
The ESPNU National Signing Day Special, hosted by Rece Davis and Lowell Galindo, will feature comprehensive analysis from an assembled team of experienced and knowledgeable recruiting analysts. Former University of Miami head coach Randy Shannon will join Tom Luginbill, ESPN national recruiting director; Bruce Feldman, ESPN The Magazine senior writer; Robert Smith, ESPN college football analyst; and Craig Haubert, Corey Long and Jamie Newberg, ESPN recruiting analysts. ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit will join the panel throughout the day to provide his overall breakdown of National Signing Day.
SportsCenter and ESPNEWS will provide live look-ins and updates on high-ranking commits throughout the day.
Several players ranked by ESPNU 150, a nationwide ranking of top prep football prospects compiled by ESPN Scouts, Inc., are expected to announce their college decision live during the show, including #3 Cyrus Kouandjio (OT, DeMatha Catholic HS/Hyattsville, Md.); #4 Isaiah Crowell (RB, Carver HS/Columbus, Ga.); #9 Tony Steward (ILB, Pedro Menendez HS/St. Augustine, Fla.); #17 Tim Jernigan (DT, Columbia HS/Lake City, Fla.); #26 Gabe Wright (DT, Carver, HS/Columbus, Ga.); #46 Curtis Grant (ILB, Hermitage HS/Richmond, Va.) and #52 Enrique Florence (S, Valley, HS/Valley, Ala.). Additional player announcements on ESPNU may be added. Also scheduled to appear is the #1 ranked ESPNU 150 player Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Pointe HS/Rock Hill, S.C.), who remains undecided.
ESPN reporters will be on campuses around the nation providing news updates throughout the day and interviews with coaches, including Wendi Nix at Alabama; Jenn Brown at Auburn; Holly Rowe at Florida; Shelley Smith at Florida State; Quint Kessenich at Michigan and Pat Forde at Texas. Interviews with as many as 20 BCS Conference coaches will be part of the telecast, including Bobby Petrino (Arkansas); Mark Richt (Georgia); Dan Mullen (Mississippi State); Butch Davis (North Carolina); Brian Kelly (Notre Dame); Todd Graham (Pittsburgh); Doug Marrone (Syracuse); Gary Patterson (TCU); and Mike London (Virginia).
ESPN The Magazine
New to this year’s telecast, in conjunction with ESPN The Magazine, the ESPNU National Signing Day Special will chronicle the No. 1 rated recruits over the last 25 years. The features will delve into how the recruiting process affected each of the top prosepcts, including Ricky Watters (Notre Dame, 1987); Hines Ward (Georgia, 1994); Vince Young (Texas, 2002); and Da’Quan Bowers (Clemson, 2008).
ESPN The Magazine also surveyed 50 of the elite 2011 recruits from across the country. Recruiting Confidential will report the findings of the survey questions that range from “Who had the biggest impact on your decision” to “What you thought of the recruiting process” and “would you rather win a BCS National Championship or the Heisman Trophy.”
E:60 will also contribute a feature on the Coppola brothers. Tyler Coppola, a first team all-state selection at running back and captain of the St. John’s Prep (Mass.) squad that made it to the Division I State Superbowl. Every time Tyler stepped onto the football field he was not playing for himself, but for two former teammates that once shared the backfield with him – his brothers Brandon and Jared. The Coppola brothers, who are triplets, always shared an intense love of football, always playing on the same team until Brandon and Jared suffered spinal cord injuries within a year of each other. Now Tyler plays for all of them.
ESPN Digital Media
In preparation for National Signing Day, ESPN.com will feature the Signing Day Preview File, a one-stop shop with everything fans need to know heading into the day. Preview coverage will also include a “where are they now” look at the ESPNU 150 Class of 2007 with re-rankings and re-evaluations of players and teams based on performances to date, as well as a look at top prospects and predictions for teams in non-automatic qualifying BCS Conferences.
On Signing Day, ESPN.com will stream video from the ESPNU National Signing Day Special and will feature the “RecruitTracker” tool, an information clearinghouse for ESPN Recruiting coverage that will update signings as they happen, allowing fans to track where the ESPN 150 recruits are headed and how their favorite teams are doing. On The Trail will feature instant news and commentary on the day’s signings, while the ESPN.com college football blog network will provide up-to-the-minute updates from around the country.
For fans on the go, ESPN’s Live Now, an opt-in alerts service, will provide the latest Signing Day news and player commitment updates directly to mobile devices. Coverage will include player-by-player commitment alerts among the ESPNU 150 and information about the top teams and conferences.
ESPN.com will continue its coverage after National Signing Day concludes with major post-recruiting features. This includes naming the ESPN National Recruiter of the Year and presenting honors to other top recruiters in each of the major football conferences.
In addition, ESPNU will provide live updates and interaction with fans on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ESPNU) and Twitter (www.Twitter.com/ESPNU) throughout the day.
ESPN RISE, ESPN’s high school sports initiative, will provide comprehensive coverage leading up to and on National Signing Day. ESPNRISE.com will be the source for multi-media storytelling, including video diaries from select recruits, advice to incoming players, statistics and more. Highlights:
* Video diaries that followed Under Armour All-American Kevin McReynolds and Elite 11 quarterback Adam Pittser during their senior season and through the recruiting process;
* A list of NFL stars participating in this year’s Super Bowl, who did not receive an offer on National Signing Day like Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers;
* A feature on the expectations of Division I quarterbacks from the view of a true freshman starter, a redshirt and medical redshirt player, all who offer tips on how to survive;
* A recruiting resource for high school athletes, including advice from head coaches Mack Brown (Texas), Bob Stoops (Oklahoma) and Chip Kelly (Oregon).
ESPN Radio will provide listeners the latest news throughout National Signing Day during its SportsCenter updates every 20 minutes, and with commentary on the biggest signings during regularly scheduled studio programming.
30 for 30
Preceding the 10-hour National Signing Day coverage will be the airing of The Best That Never Was, a two-hour film from of ESPN’s critically acclaimed 30 for 30 series, at 7 a.m. on ESPNU. In 1981, college athletic recruiting changed forever as a dozen big-time football programs sat waiting for the decision by a physically powerful and lightning-quick high school running back named Marcus Dupree. On his way to eclipsing Herschel Walker’s record for the most touchdowns in high school history, Dupree attracted recruiters from schools in every major conference to his hometown of Philadelphia, Miss. More than a decade removed from being a flashpoint in the civil-rights struggle, Philadelphia was thrust back into the national spotlight. Dupree took the attention in stride, and committed to Oklahoma. Eight-time Emmy Award winner Jonathan Hock examined why this star burned out so young and how he ultimately used football to redeem himself.
The coverage of ESPNU’s National Signing Day Special will reair in its entirety on Wednesday, Feb. 2, into Thursday, Feb. 3, beginning at 11 p.m.
The 24-hour college sports television network televises more than 650 live events annually and offers over 400 original studio shows. ESPNU has seen a steady increase since its inception on March 4, 2005 and is now in approximately 73 million households. The brand is also available in high definition on ESPNUHD, now in over 17 million homes.