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Jeff Schultz

Signing day advice: Proceed with caution

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Recruiting: It's as unpredictable as fortune-telling.

Recruiting: It’s as unpredictable as fortune-telling.

Good morning. It’s national letter of intent day. I’ve never hidden my feelings about the obsession so many of you have with this day so it wouldn’t be right for me to be disingenuous and start now. The most positive thing I can say about letter of intent day is that it’s more palatable than April 15.

Anyway, about today: Whether you’re a recruiting-obsessed football fan of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State or Georgia Southern, here’s some unsolicited advice: Try to make it through this day with some little perspective.

If Georgia finishes seventh among SEC schools in some site’s recruiting rankings, it doesn’t mean the Bulldogs are going to be the seventh-best team in the conference next season and/or can’t win the conference championship. If Georgia State finishes 127th, it doesn’t mean the Panthers can’t win … a game.

It matters little how many “stars” Joe Bob Billy Boy has been given by Mr. Recruiting Geek In Mom’s Basement. This is a guessing game. We’re talking about trying to project what 18-year-olds will do for the next four years, when it’s impossible to know what most 18-year-olds will do even next week.

You think there are hits and misses in pro drafts? Those athletes are three to five years older and they’re scouted by staffs of expert coaches and general managers, and teams STILL get it wrong.

What matters most is how these players develop. That’s up to the respective coaching staffs and the programs they’re in. You can go to any school’s recruiting class in any season and see that many of those “5-star” guys turned out to be busts or just average while the “3-stars” wound up starting.

Does recruiting mean absolutely nothing? No. But celebrating about a “great” recruiting class is like coming home with two bags of groceries and bragging about what a great meal you’ve made.

That said, if you’re into all this, you can find all of the latest news at AJC.com/s/sports or go to our special breaking news site set up just for LOI day: AJC.com/currentatl/college-recruiting. There will be tons of free content all day.

And, yes, I will be contributing a couple of more blogs. We’re in the gap between football and baseball so I have no excuse.

Question for the masses: How serious do you take recruiting rankings?

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