Nick Saban, like pretty much every coach at a powerhouse program, doesn’t like the idea of an early signing period. Kirby Smart, who sat at Saban’s knee for many years — how do you think he feels about it?
“I’m not a big person that’s in favor of moving up the signing day or having an earlier signing period,” Smart said on the SEC coaches’ conference call on Wednesday. “You can argue some positives. Just like anything, there’s good and bad to both. But when the whole thing’s considered in totality, I just don’t think it’s something that going to be good for the kids, good for the players. I just don’t see it that way.”
Ah, yes. The tried and tested “it’s not good for the kids” defense. Straight out of the Saban playbook. Funny how giving recruits more options is a bad thing. Kirby should ask Roquan Smith how that worked out for him and Georgia.
On the players’ end, if a recruit signs with a school in June or December, the staff he commits to could experience turnover. Those who recruited him to that school could be gone. Ideally the prospect would commit to the school and not the coaches, but that’ll never be the case when dealing with highly persuasive recruiters who do a good job of selling themselves as coaches and their programs.
The same situation creates difficulty for staffs who stay intact. If a top target is a heavy lean to a program when the two early periods come and go and the staff decides to sign someone lower on the board to fill a need, it puts the coaches in a tough spot should the more highly-thought-of prospect change his mind and want to attend their school.
Smart sees the early signing period as merely an acceleration of a process he says he already sees as “rushed” in the first place. Having been an assistant coach for the past nine years gives him an unique point of view in that regard.
“Nobody really knows what will happen if you decide to have an early signing period,” Smart said. “I think there’s a lot of ramifications that we can’t foresee. Sometimes, when you’re not out there in the recruiting world and you’re not day-to-day traveling as an assistant coach, going out and recruiting, you don’t see what happens to kids who change their mind, coaches change jobs.”
C’mon, Kirby. This isn’t that hard. If you’re a top tier recruit who’s concerned about possible staff turnover, don’t sign until February. You know every major program chasing you will hold a spot open for you until the last minute. But if you’re not that kid and a program you really like extends you its hand earlier and you want the peace of mind a commitment brings, go for it.
The problem with an early signing period isn’t for the recruits. It’s for the coaches who prefer the flexibility down to the last second of being able to pick and choose. They don’t welcome the inconvenience an early signing period brings, pure and simple.