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<p>Jim McElwain looks on during Florida's 54-16 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 3, 2016, in Atlanta.</p>

Jim McElwain looks on during Florida's 54-16 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 3, 2016, in Atlanta.

When I was in high school, I wanted to be a recruiting reporter. I read recruiting stories daily while I was supposed to be paying attention in class, and National Signing Day was one of my favorite days of the year (seriously).

Today, I have absolutely no interest in being a recruiting reporter. I’ve seen how the job works, and it seems horrible. But nevertheless, I find myself mesmerized by every bit of recruiting news that flashes across Tweetdeck, and for a while, I had absolutely no goddamn idea why.

It’s a question that, in the week leading up to this year’s NSD, I tried to answer. And the reason I’ve come up with is that I love recruiting and signing day just because of the utter absurdity of it all.

Famed existentialist thinker Albert Camus defined absurdity as the desire to understand the totality (this is, why things happen the way they do) coupled with the universe’s silence. In other words, weird coincidences and quirks happen all the time, and many of those times, it’s impossible to understand why.

By this definition, recruiting is definitely absurd.

Why is it that 18-year-olds who change their minds like they change clothes can have so much power over fans and coaches alike? Why is it that even though touted recruits often flop and vice versa, NSD is treated like a government-sanctioned holiday? Why is it that unbinding commitments that mean absolutely nothing mean everything to fans when they happen?

Again, it’s absurd.

But it’s also fun.

It’s a sort of real-life theater, with last-minute commitments, decommitments and academic ineligibility playing out to college football fans like a modern Shakespearean play.

One such example is the unfortunate case of James Robinson.

The No. 114 player in the class of 2017, Robinson was poised to sign with the Gators today. But on a recent recruiting trip to Ohio State, he was cited for marijuana possession.

The Buckeyes stopped recruiting him, but Florida was supposedly still going to take him, according to SEC Country.

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That is, until the UF administration stepped in and told McElwain he wouldn’t be allowed to sign Robinson. According to SEC Country, McElwain called Robinson to tell him and then called 18 other programs to try and find Robinson a new football home.

OK, so maybe it’s not Shakespeare. But it is pretty dramatic, and while that’s a fairly extreme example, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other examples of high-stakes theatrics either on or leading up to NSD.

It’s rare in sports to have such theatrics take place off of a field and for such an extended period of time. Actually, it’s nearly unheard of aside from prolonged scandals.

So with NSD having arrived once again, I encourage you to embrace the absurdity of it all, enjoying the drama just like you would watching a good movie.

Ethan Bauer is the sports editor. His column appears on Wednesdays. Contact him at, and follow him on Twitter @ebaueri.

Jim McElwain looks on during Florida's 54-16 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 3, 2016, in Atlanta.

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