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The fascination of Signing Day switches is the ultimate in drama as players change their commitments at the last minute, often to a rival school leaving emotions on both sides at extremes.
To Clemson fans, it has a name - "McIntoshed".
The name comes from Jacksonville, Fla., wide receiver Mike McIntosh who committed to the Tigers on television show Countdown to Signing Day on January 14, 2004, just weeks before he was expected to sign and was the highest-ranked commitment for the Tigers.
However, early on the morning of Signing Day, rumors started to circulate that McIntosh had secretly signed with the home state Florida Gators, whom he visited the weekend after announcing his original commitment.
"That day, it really took the wind out of the sails for Clemson fans because he was expected to be this big-time receiver and was the linchpin of that class," said Roy Philpott, publisher of CUTigers.com.
McIntosh would transfer out of Florida after two years and no games played in the program.
Clemson would get its own "McIntosh" moment as tight Dwayne Allen from Fayetteville, N.C., who was an on-again, off-again commitment to Georgia, announced that he was sticking with the Bulldogs only two days before signing with the Tigers on Signing Day.
Allen told CUTigers.com aftewards, "I went with my heart. This was my decision."
Sometimes the last minute changes completely affect the future of programs and even coaching stability.
"Back in the class of 2004, the duo of Anthony Morelli who was a five-star quarterback coming out of high school and four-star running back Andrew Johnson had been committed to Pittsburgh for the better part of a year, this was the class that was to lead Walt Harris to a National Championship, and four-star linebacker James Bryant was to join them," said Bob Lichtenfels, Scout.com's East regional manager. "On signing day, Morelli flipped to Penn State, Johnson and Bryant went to Miami leaving Pittsburgh in the lurch."
The number of players who change their commitment the week of Signing Day is a lengthy list, and some changed back and forth multiple times.
"The player that I remember having the most difficult time making a decision was wide receiver Devin Aromashodu," said Scott Kennedy, Scout.com's Director of Scouting. "The wide receiver from the state of Florida was committed to three different schools in the last week before signing day including NC State, Auburn, and Florida. Even after his LOI came to Auburn, I’m sure there were still fans waiting to see if he made it to campus or if he’d change his mind again."
Some names are now household names, others never saw the football field in college, but they were all big names at the time of signing. A small sampling includes:
Ryan Perriloux switched from Texas to LSU. Jerrell Powe committed to LSU at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl only to sign with Ole Miss for the first of three times. Jai Eugene announced at the U.S. Army Game to Michigan but ended up signing with LSU. Nu'Keese Richardson set off a SEC mudslinging contest as he went from Florida to Tennessee. Da' Rick Rogers ended his long-time commitment to Georgia on Signing Day also signing with Tennessee. Greg Little, who held two press conferences already, did not hold one on Signing Day as he switched his commitment from Notre Dame to North Carolina. Ryan Broyles switched his commitment three times between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State before making a fourth change on Signing Day to stick with the Sooners.
Jerrell Powe puts on an Ole Miss hat at his press conference
Yancy Porter, Scout.com
So what is it that causes so much change in such a small amount of time?
"The pressure," said Chad Simmons, Southeast regional manager for Scout.com. "They know that if they decommit or open things back up too early, that is letting other schools that have been in pursuit or currently in pursuit know that they haven't closed the door and they'll call the coaches and the media will get in on the kid. The stress. The pressure. At this point, they are all tired of that and want to just be finished."
Simmons believes there are also some schools who want the change at the last minute to give them that added edge in recruiting.
"There are definitely one or two or three schools that know if they can get there to Signing Day they don't have to fight other schools if they go public."
Obviously, the lack of college production from McIntosh not-withstanding, the drama of the day still remains as college coaches and fans around the country can only wait as fax machines hum along on Wednesday morning to show who will follow up on their commitments.
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