Lyons: Lucky athletes counting days to Feb. 1

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I can only imagine what it must be like for some high school football players right now.

I imagine many are tossing and turning and finding it hard to sleep at night.

I imagine they can’t concentrate during the day.

There’s only one week left until their lives change and the dreams they’ve had since they were little boys finally come true.

Feb. 1 is National Signing Day, the day high school athletes across America learn how fax machines work.

It’s the day they finally can put pens to paper on National Letters of Intent, sealing their deals with the colleges of their choice — or the ones that chose them.

And the sound you’ll hear will be of the relieved sighs of their parents who have been worrying about how they will pay for their sons’ college since the day they were born.

Many of the top athletes have already publicly proclaimed their choices.

Some did it with Twitter, others through their local newspapers, TV stations or, for a lucky few, during one of the nationally televised all-star games.

They like to make a big deal with the hats.

Some will make their fans wait until the very last moment.

I covered one guy who wore his intended school’s T-shirt under his dress shirt so he would reveal it at his signing day.

Another made his big reveal with his fancy socks.

Some like to think outside the box.

USC player Iman Marshall announced his intent last year with a splashy Hollywood music video.

I read about a Notre Dame recruit who nearly ruined his future when he was convinced to pull a bus using a shoulder harness and hurt himself.

In a clever twist, Mecole Hardman Jr., the nation’s No. 1 recruit last year, had a whole bunch of cakes made with different teams’ logos. He eventually ate Georgia.

Some will change their minds, of course.

St. James’ stellar quarterback Lowell Narcisse, committed to LSU, decommitted from LSU, then reopened his recruiting to see what else was out there.

I used the analogy of a bridegroom with cold feet.

He ultimately headed off to LSU anyway.

Of course, folks in the River Parishes play things a little more low-key.

Most of the local schools hold dignified little signing ceremonies either in the school’s library, cafeteria or athletic field house. Sometimes there’s king cake.

East St. John High did have a nice party last year at Fatty’s in Garyville. There was cake there too.

This year will be a little different. Despite all their success last season, neither Riverside Academy nor St. Charles Catholic have any football players planning to sign next Wednesday.

East St. John High and West St. John High were still finalizing plans for their signees.

I hope those guys realize how lucky they are.

According to statistics on the NCAA’s web site, only 6.7 percent of the million-plus who play high school football each year go on to play college football.

Only 2.6 percent go on to play Division I football.

Only 1.6 percent will play major professional football.

While the lucky ones endure their sleepless nights in anticipation, the majority will spend them just reliving their glory days.

Lori Lyons is sports editor at L’OBSERVATEUR. She can be reached at 985-652-9545 or