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Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  February 2, 2010 02:15 PM

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...That's what tons of high school football prospects across the country will lend to National Letters of Intent on Feb.3, locking in their college choices and setting the stage for the next generation of Tim Tebows, Colt McCoys and Mark Ingrams to take the autumn stage.

National Signing Day is one of my favorite days of the sports year and one of the most hallowed days on the sports landscape across most of the country. It's much more interesting than the endless Super Bowl hype, and with President Obama a big college football fan I might push for it to be an actual holiday. However, it will barely register a ripple here, where college football is something to tide you over until the Patriots play on Sunday.

But in places like Tuscaloosa, Ala., Tallahassee, Fla., and Columbus, Ohio wins in recruiting are just as celebrated as actual victories on the field because they often lead to those victories.

Besides the guilty perversion of getting excited about where 17-and 18-year-olds decide to go to school, National Signing Day is college football's equivalent of the NFL Draft. Decisions made now will dictate what happens on the field for the next couple of years.

Plus, National Signing Day is the one day of the year when the fax machine is still a vitally important piece of office machinery and not an anachronistic relic. So, high school seniors commence your faxes.

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The word

Christopher L. Gasper riffs on the news

Dearth

...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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