Card Nation has been here before, hopes of football glory hinged on a high school football star picking up the hat with the “L” or the Cardinal bird on it and placing it on his head.
Sometimes it went our way, and other times the young man just made the wrong choice. 😉
There were always deciding factors before when the Cardinal hat was chosen.
Sometimes it was because the traditional powers pulled their offers of scholarships. Dwayne White was heavily recruited until he hurt his knee his senior year and those mighty SEC schools had rescinded their offers of a full ride.
Proximity to the school has both been a blessing and a curse. James Quick was a local star that was treated like royalty by the hometown team for 4 years, shown the love in a major way and chose to stay home instead of being a Buckeye. Local star chooses hometown team, would he have been a Cardinal had he been from Columbus, Ohio?
Teddy Bridgewater. He of GUMP hashtag fame. Teddy Two-Gloves, who single-handedly willed us to wins with 4 pieces of Bazooka Joe bubble gum in his socks. Teddy came here by way of Miami. He was actually a Miami commit and was going to be the catalyst to bring glory back to the famed (infamous?) U. Until Randy Shannon was fired, that is. Another fortuitous bounce of the ball that benefited the “Greatest College Sports Town in the USA”.
Had Miami not fired Coach Shannon during Teddy’s senior year at Miami Northwestern AND had Louisville not had a gaping hole at the quarterback position offering almost guaranteed early playing time, today’s big recruiting news would not have happened.
I feel very confident in saying that.
So, here was Card Nation on a Thursday afternoon sitting on pins and needles. The tension on social media was palpable, will he or won’t he put the Cardinal hat on. There was some confidence early this week by industry “insiders” that Pass would become a Card, but then the visit to college football’s Goliath-mighty Alabama- happened. By all accounts Pass loved the visit to Tuscaloosa, as did his mother, and with every thought of Pass spending a day or two with THE Nick Saban (and all of those national championship rings!), the confidence from earlier in the week waned in the minds of Cardinal faithful. We readied our arguments that we would need if Pass chose Saban and the Tide, knowing full well that we would face the ridicule of BBN and their non-football understanding masses. Heck, they would probably even make a tshirt about Jawon “PASS-ing” on Louisville and opting to wage war in football Valhalla-the mighty SEC.
You see, Pass is from SEC-land. Living in Georgia, about 30 minutes from Auburn’s campus and not too far from Alabama-Pass’s other choice. Non-Traditional football powers such as Louisville do NOT come down to the Southeast and take players that the heavyweights are actively calling on and trying to woo. That doesn’t happen. Just ask Gus Malzahn who just this week at SEC media days said that exactly. The Cards didn’t promise immediate playing time because they didn’t have that gaping hole at QB that was there like when Teddy made his choice. Pass will have to compete with at least 3 other consensus 4* QB recruits in Reggie Bonnefon, Lamar Jackson and Tyler Ferguson, and maybe another in 4* UofL commitment Tylin Oden (very talented current Cardinal commit in his own right). While we have a pretty impressive trophy case with BCS trophies, we do not have the national title hardware that both Bama and Auburn can brag of.
We knew all of these reasons by heart.
When the red and black hat came to its resting place on top of Puma’s head, the Cardinal faithful erupted in cheers. High fives were shared while at the same time catchy headlines and witty hashtags were created. All too soon dreams of Heisman trophies and renaming the corner of Floyd Street and Crittendon Drive to Puma Pass and Bridgewater Boulevard were shared, tweeted, retweeted, quoted and whatever other ways that information is shared digitally this week.
Puma had every reason to NOT choose the good guys, but he chose them anyway.
This one felt different.
This one WAS different.