The more I think about it the more I believe there should be an early signing period for college football.
This is not a new concept. It has been heavily debated and largely favored by coaches for some time. In fact, there were some relatively serious discussions initiated by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) earlier this year to install a short, early signing period in mid-December, much like the November period there is in college basketball. They claimed 77 percent of college coaches favored such a signing period. Alas, nothing has come of it so far.
But I still think they’re missing the point here. Forget mid-December. I say an early signing period for late July makes a lot more sense.
No doubt you noticed that Georgia got three commitments this week alone. Georgia Tech and Alabama also got major commitments this week. In each case the players that made their decisions public talked about the desire to get the recruiting process over with so they could concentrate on preparing for their senior seasons and doing what they needed to meet academic requirements. Pretty logical when you think about it.
So I decided to peruse the commitment lists of the major colleges in the South and I was surprised by the big numbers I found therein. As has been well documented here, Georgia has verbal commitments from 18 players and Georgia Tech’s recruiting effort for 2010 — the Yellow Jackets initially have only 12 scholarships to offer — is 75 percent complete with 9. But it’s not limited to our local teams.
LSU has 19 pledges already. Alabama has 18, South Carolina 14 and Tennessee and Auburn have 12 each. That’s nearly seven months before the current national signing day (the first Wednesday in February).
Coaches who like the idea of an early signing period say it would save them a lot of time, money and expense to not have to “defend” the players with which they already have verbal agreements. A binding letter-of-intent would let all sides — school, competing schools and prospects — relax.
There are drawbacks, of course. The recruiting process has already moved up to the point that offers are being made well into prospects’ junior seasons. An earlier period would probably force even earlier evaluations. And players that may be late in developing and/or being marketed would be even more likely to be overlooked by the major schools.
But there’s nothing that says teams have to fill out their recruiting rosters in July (or December). Put a limit on the early period, say 12 to 15 signees, and save the others for the regular February signing date.
Makes sense to me. How about you?
Now for a few links:
Great story in the Mobile Press-Register comparing SEC recruiting budgets. Spoiler alert: The Big Orange spends big. . . .
According to this report in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Storm Johnson of Loganville has been asked to not talk about his LSU commitment by the Tigers’ coaching staff. They don’t want him to scare off other prospects, it’s alleged. . . .
If you haven’t already checked out the new e-mail newsletter, Georgia High School Football Daily, you really must. They’ve started a regular feature in which they publish a diary from the father of Jonathan Vaughters, the father of Tucker High’s highly-touted 2011 prospect, linebacker James Vaughters. Among the tidbits unveiled in his latest entry are James loved talking with coach Mark Richt at Georgia’s “Dawg Night” this past weekend, he got the “Hollywood treatment” on a recent trip to California to visit USC and UCLA and he’ll be at Florida’s “Friday Night Lights” this Friday. . . . GHSF Daily also points out that Georgia has now landed commitments from the state’s top four prospects in Alec Ogletree, Da’Rick Rogers, Garrison Smith and T.J. Stripling. No. 5 in the rankings? UGA target Mack Brown.