Notes & Quotes from SEC Network’s National Signing Day Coverage

SEC Network

Notes & Quotes from SEC Network’s National Signing Day Coverage

  • 10-hours of Signing Day Coverage including five-hour SEC Now Signing Day Special
  • Only in Finebaum: The Paul Finebaum Show on Signing Day
  • 20 different SEC Network + streams: school shows & press conferences

SEC Network has capped off nine-hours of wall-to-wall multi-platform National Signing Day coverage featuring nine schools in the Top 25 of ESPN’s 2017 Football Class Rankings and signing the No. 1 and No. 2 recruits for the fourth time in seven years. The network’s coverage also included 13 head coach press conferences and seven school produced shows streaming on SEC Network + and’s Signing Day Central (full site) and continues tonight with an hour-long SEC Now recap show.

This year’s special opened at 10 a.m. ET with host Dari Nowkhah tossing from look-ins at nine Southeastern Conference campuses and head coaches Nick Saban, Guz Malzahn and Mark Stoops arriving to work (video).

Nowkhah then spent the following five-hours guiding the show through breaking news discussions and analysis at the desk with college football analyst Greg McElroy and recruiting analyst Craig Haubert, all the while peppering in live reports from Laura Rutledge (Alabama), Cole Cubelic (Auburn), Clint Stoerner (Arkansas), Maria Taylor (Georgia), Matt Stinchcomb (Kentucky), Allison Williams (LSU), Marcus Spears (Texas A&M) and Tony Barnhart (South Carolina). Reporters on site spoke with head coaches, while Nowkhah interviewed Florida, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt coaches from the studio.

Paul Finebaum took over at 3 p.m., adding a unique fan-layer to signing day coverage. The show remained true to its core and in addition to nine guests (coaches and experts) Finebaum took calls from more than 30 fans over four-hours. The Paul Finebaum Show is the only Signing Day show on national television that takes live fan calls for reaction.

Finebaum’s coverage included an ESPN300 player’s father calling in as a fan, to ask Paul his opinion on Kentucky’s football program. His son committed to the Wildcats today.

SEC Now closes out the day’s 10-hours of TV coverage later this evening, at 11 p.m. ET, with a recap of the day’s news.

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Signing Day Video Highlights on SEC Network:

  • Stinchcomb starts the day with Coach Mark Stoops at his grocery store coffee stop (video)
  • Rutledge gets to know Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and what he likes most about living in the South (video)
  • Williams interviews LSU offensive coordinator Coach Matt Canada (video)
  • Early enrollee interviews at Kentucky (video) and Auburn (video)
  • Ryan McGee essay on Hat hype (video)
  • Stoerner interview with Coach Bret Bielema (video) on landing No. 11 Chevin Calloway
  • Coach Jim McElwain on Florida’s 2017 class (video)
  • Finebaum interviews Coach Butch Jones (video)
  • Finebaum interviews Coach Kirby Smart (video)
  • Coach Mullen discusses reloading with JUCO signees (video)
  • Missouri’s Head Coach Barry Odem on solidifying positions up front (video)
  • SEC Coaches interview round-up (video)
  • Analyst discussion: South Carolina lands immediate impact corner (video)
  • Spears with Coach Kevin Sumlin discussing full class (video)
  • Coach Derek Mason on Vandy’s 2017 class (video)
  • Finebaum interviews Coach Hugh Freeze (video
  • SEC Now interview with No.1 Trey Smith committed to Tennessee (video)
  • For the fourth time in the last seven years, the top two players in the nation signed with SEC schools (tweet).

Quote Highlights:

  • “I’m going to get after (Fitzgerald) this afternoon and tell him he has a lot to live up to. Greg put him as No.1 . We better get back to work to make sure he can stay that way,” – Coach Mullen on McElroy picking Nick Fitzgerald as the top Freshman QB in the SEC
  • “You pretty much know which guys are coming. The surprise is what makes television,” – Coach McElwain
  • “Let’s think about the South and what is important to them, and that is football. This conference takes football very seriously, and these states in the conference take it very seriously,” – McElroy
  • “I would ask the question how important is the game to you? Are you infatuated with the fame or infatuated with the game?” – McElroy on recruiting advice to coaches
  • “Every once in awhile a player comes along who is able to bust out of that mold where you say hey you’ve got to look beyond the measurable and see the football player,” – Haubert on South Carolina taking Jamyest Williams
  • “We need to learn this last name because we will be hearing it often. He could be competing with Jalen Hurts for the starting position, ” – Rutledge on Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama
  • “(Alabama’s) big target was LaBryan Ray, everything else was icing on the cake,” – Rutledge
  • “It is an easy sell for me. I went to school here, my heart is here,” – Coach Smart on Georgia
  • “There is one thing that recruits can’t stand, and that’s uncertainty” – McElroy on programs in transition


Other fun videos:

  • Rutledge plays air hockey with Damien Harris (facebook live)
  • Stoerner crashes Arkansas coaches offices at lunch (facebook live)
  • Spears has BBQ delivered in Aggie land (video)





Gracie Blackburn

Gracie is the Communications Manager for ESPN’s College Networks. She handles all media requests and questions concerning SEC Network and Longhorn Network. Gracie also supports on college sports airing across ESPN networks.
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