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Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  February 2, 2011 01:17 AM

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Today is the high holy day of college football recruiting, otherwise known as National Signing Day. It's Christmas in February if you're a college football junkie and warms the heart until spring practices. The fortunes of some of the nation's best college football programs will rise and fall on the whims of 17- and 18-year-old young men. National championships are won and lost with the stroke of a pen.

Somewhere out there is the next Cam Newton...and of course the next Cecil Newton. At least Cecil waited until Cam was being recruited the second time -- coming out of junior college -- to ask for some enticement. But he's not alone.

College football and college basketball recruiting are the ultimate ruse, and they're a hold-your-nose business. It's like the hot dog. Most people enjoy them, but they don't want any knowledge of the grisly details of their production. The same is true with how college football stars are made.

I take recruiting for what it is, but Signing Day is still one of my favorite days of the year.

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The word

Christopher L. Gasper riffs on the news


...That's what the Patriots have when it comes to picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, which starts Thursday. After all those years of stockpiling picks the way a survivalist does non-perishables the Patriots have just five picks in this year's draft, thanks to Band-aid trades for Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco and Aqib Talib. Five picks would be the fewest draft picks in franchise history. (Part of that is attributable to the trimming of the draft to just seven rounds in 1994). Further complicating matters is that two of the Patriots' greatest needs are at wide receiver and cornerback, positions where they have sustained draft droughts. With that in mind, I'm convinced the Patriots are going trade back out of the first round of a quanity-over-quality draft where you're just as likely to pick a Pro Bowl player in the second and third round as you are in the first round.

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