Early signing period for football makes sense

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.

27 comments Add your comment

god and greyhound

July 24th, 2009
7:02 am

States top prospects according to who? Same old story. uog: preseason and recruiting champs, postseason CHUMPS

c towers

July 24th, 2009
7:20 am

ex uog beat writer and sec homer gomer

saint simons

July 24th, 2009
7:24 am

((((( 45 42 ))))) hahahahahahahaha


July 24th, 2009
7:38 am

I will resist the urge to make disparaging remarks about the North Ave brethren who completely missed the point of the story – early signing period.

I’m not sure how UGA are chumps in the postseason. The most recent bowl loss was to West Virginia, prior to that Boston College in Richt’s first season. Donnan won all his bowl games. Towers writes a story that includes information about GT, Florida, Alabama and references Tennessee and he is a UGA homer.

I think you three have just proved the inferiority complex of Tech fans to UGA fans.


July 24th, 2009
7:51 am

CHIP, good story. I don’t believe they should be a limit on how many can sign early. If a kid wants to commit early, then let him. That way he don’t have to worry about his scholarship being pulled. As far as recruiting kids early, simply pass a rule that would prohibit any school from offering a scholly until AFTER his JR football season, so they can offer around December of their JR year.

Dawg fans, please ignore the obsessive fans on here that make stupid remarks, we are close enough to the season to actually talk intelligently about football. That is all.

caleb top prospect king

July 24th, 2009
7:54 am

Who is jon dwyer?


July 24th, 2009
8:10 am

can anybody give a update on geathers?

GT Rich

July 24th, 2009
8:12 am

I believe in a July period as well, but I would also say that head coaching changes give the recruits the opportunity to withdraw their letter of intent.

Chip Towers

July 24th, 2009
8:16 am

GT Rich: That’s a good point and something I considered. I agree that recruits should be allowed to opt out of their letter-of-intent if there’s a coaching change. But that would definitely be a snag with the NCAA. It is adamant about the prospects signing with school and not the coach and the letter-of-intent itself says as much.

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In The Trenches

July 24th, 2009
9:11 am

I am also in agreement with the early signing period for upcoming seniors. The 2011 class would then have the same opportunity for early signing the next year. I think there should be a cutoff as to when a upcoming juniors can be contacted and offered. A verbal committ could wait until Febuary to sign if he was more concerned with a coaching change, or wait to commit after early signing day. I have been through this process this year with my son, and although he has made his solid verbal committment, we would like to have the signing over with. I just got an illegal phone call from an SEC assistant coach the other day. Go figure!


July 24th, 2009
9:29 am

Yeah i believe Mack brown will commit to UGA in the next week or two. There has been a number of rumors about him being friends with and wanting to play with Malcome and Stripling. UGA’s 2010 class is looking to be a top 5 class.

Chip Towers

July 24th, 2009
9:40 am

Dog Fan: There is no update on Kwame Geathers. From the outset I was told he would be in Athens in August. It’s not August yet.


July 24th, 2009
10:22 am

To all UGA and SEC fans-ignore any comments from idiotic Tech and ACC morons and they will go away! Your responce is what they crave, don’t give it to them. Thank-you.


July 24th, 2009
10:34 am

According to Richt, Geathers has a few more “hoops” to jump through with the NCAA Clearinghouse. Hopefully he’ll be good to go come August.


July 24th, 2009
11:11 am

If you really want to stop the recruiting nonsense and distractions why not do this. First of all college is supposed to be a place for an education. Don’t laugh but that is still true. So if a student who happens to qualify for an academic scholarship as well as an athletic scholarship he could still go anywhere under my plan. Also the top 100 players are where abuse is most likely to occur. This is not for lower tier players who could still go anywhere. College football is big business and it starts in high school where each states tax payers pay for player development. Why let that developed talent go out of state? What if the NCAA in order to cut down on recruiting abuses and to lower costs did this? The top 100 or 150 players depending on how many division 1 schools are in each state would be required to remain in state unless the they received a pass from each Division 1 school in that state. For example:

Jon Bond is a Number 5 rated player in the state. His grades are good for both Tech an UGA. He wants to go to UGA so he goes to UGA. But he has to choose between Tech and UGA no one else can contact him. They are not in the picture.

Billy Richardson is the number 10 player and would like to go to Tech but does not have the grades. Tech passes on him and UGA does not need him because they are loaded at his position… UGA passes and he is free to be contacted by any school interested in him.

Payton Jones is the top rated QB and an excellent student he would like to go to Stanford medical school. He qualifies for an academic scholarship and gets it as well as an athletic scholarship. He can go to Stanford without Tech or UGA having any say in it.

The Service Academies are the one exception to these rules. They may recruit anybody anywhere.

Summary: If you’re a good player you will play in your home state. Football is not the reason for college education is and all this recruiting hype may be fun but for some but it is very unnecessary.

Cincinatti Bowtie

July 24th, 2009
11:26 am

Hal, I don’t want my kid’s future dependant on whether GT or UGA want him, that’s gestapo crap. What if Jon Bond doesn’t want UGA or GT, but they both want him. He is required to go to either school?

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July 24th, 2009
1:23 pm

Hal, you’re plan is unfair and would never fly.
I would love for UGA to be able to put a fence around it’s borders for instate talent, but it’s not fair to the kids who may just want to go away for college….or maybe they are going to major in a degree that UGA or GT don’t offer. Or maybe they were transplants from another state and have dreams of playing at that state’s #1 school. For example, I’m from Georgia, but due to my father’s job we got transferred to Tennessee. I completed high school in Tennessee. let’s say I was a top recruit and UT and UGA both wanted me to come there, but I was a lifelong UGA fan. I wouldn’t be able to go to UGA because of your new rule? NO WAY dude.

Saint SimonsFairyLover

July 24th, 2009
2:37 pm

I love you Saint Simons! You are still my tight end!


July 24th, 2009
2:38 pm

I understand Tony’s view and given the culture of CFB it is a logical move.

However what about players that have break out senior years such as Logan Gray who backed up Chase Daniel for 3 years. IF the current trend continues 75-90% of scholarships will be filled before the player takes a snap as a senior.

What I suggest is no contact or recruiting until the senior season begins and coaches can sign players on the traditional signing day.

I know it will never ahppen.

Try selling out a 55,000 seat stadium......

July 24th, 2009
5:03 pm

7 of 8…… 14 of 18. shhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

Go Gator

July 24th, 2009
5:50 pm

big dawg

July 25th, 2009
7:59 am

hal, thats stupid… I kinda want my 20 seconds back of my life that you just wasted!


July 25th, 2009
1:07 pm

Hal, I believe that you owe me something too!


July 26th, 2009
11:39 am

college football is in the air! “Nothing like it!” Ramblin Wreck!

lawDawg (wsoh)

July 27th, 2009
2:03 am