National Signing Day Provides Hope

Rahshaun HaylockĀ  (CBS) — Last year around this time rumors started to circulate around then-Crenshaw High School running back DeAnthony Thomas about how he went on a visit to Oregon –and he liked it.

Thomas was thought to be a solid commit to USC. All of a sudden he was starting to have a change of heart.

Wednesday we’ll be having our 4th Annual Signing Day Special here on cbsLA.com at 5:15pm.

Last year as we were preparing to put on our 3rd Annual Show we had Thomas confirmed as a guest for all of one day.

Once he backed out, we knew something was up.

After all, it wouldn’t be a National Signing Day without a player switching his commitment from one school to another.

It’s the one day of the year 17 and 18 year olds rule the world and we all hang on for their every word.

So this time last year, we were all on “Mamba Watch 2011.” Would it be Oregon? Would it be USC?

As we ended the show and I walked off the set and back to our sports department, I was told by a reliable source that it was Oregon.

Sure enough, Thomas walked to the podium at Crenshaw high school in Oregon Duck attire. The cat was already out of the bag as he made a tear-laced speech.

It’s doesn’t necessarily have to be about where he’s going? But about a young man who would be given an opportunity to better his future.
Marcus Martin blocked for Mamba at Crenshaw. Martin did come on our show last year. He talked about giving people in his community of inner-city Los Angeles “a little bit of hope.”

Martin was terrific. He was, by far, the best guest we’ve had on any of our Signing Day Shows. He was eloquent and very candid.

That’s what makes this show worth doing. You get to spend time and chat with youngsters on one of the biggest days of their lives.

Before they go on to make big plays on a national stage, you have the chance to speak with them before they realize the greatness that is within their grasp.

While Mamba took the nation by storm as a freshman at Oregon, he was able to give hope to those who followed him in Los Angeles.

Martin didn’t do so bad himself. He started for Lane Kiffin on the offensive line.

Once we get done with our show on Wednesday, there will be more players ready to follow in those same footsteps.

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