The light bulb goes off in Kevin Sumlin’s head.
Sumlin was like several of his peers and sounded like a restaurant maitre d’. Florida’s Jim McElwain and South Carolina’s Will Muschamp both likened commitments who are verbally committed but don’t sign in the early period as someone making dinner plans.
“If a guy doesn’t sign in December, he’s not committed,” Sumlin said. “He has a reservation.”
The SEC was not in favor of the early signing period which will start Dec. 20. The usual February signing period will start on the first Wednesday of that month.
Sumlin supports the rule change that allows the early signing period but he also made it clear that high schoolers who have verbally committed to the Aggies will be expected to sign in December.
“I think it’s got the potential to help everybody,” Sumlin said. “It’s a cost-cutting measure. By that time, our guys are usually committed, not down to the wire. So we (previously) spent January spending money going to see a guy every week.
“If he doesn’t sign then, it clears the picture up. He’s not really committed to you. Maybe non-Power 5s could keep recruiting guys, but I don’t know. Recruiting is still going to be the same way.”
Gosh, teenagers who aren’t sure about what they’re doing. What a revelation.
Had Sumlin been a little more honest, he might have conceded that the process cuts both ways. A coach who isn’t willing to sign a recruit with an offer in December is sending his own kind of message about commitment.
Then again, he may have been too worried about player evaluation to admit that.
But for coaching staffs, the early signing period ramps up the recruiting calendar. If prospects are expected to sign their letters of intent in December, then schools need to zero in on recruits earlier.
And as many coaches mentioned on the SEC call, there will be less time for recruiters to establish relationships and get to know the players they wish to sign.
“I’m concerned with the (recruiting) calendar changing,” Sumlin said. “I don’t get to get in guys’ homes in May. How do we get to know these guys a little bit better as we sign them early? To know what we’re getting, and to know each other.”
I dunno about you, but when I see that Lane Kiffin just offered a 13-year old, it’s hard for me to get very worked up about his concern.
Actually, what I wonder about is whether December is early enough for coaches and players to put their respective cards on the table. It’s revealing that Sumlin expects all of his recruits who have verbally committed by December to utilize the early signing date, but he’s also realistic enough to acknowledge that there will be some uncertainty in the process. Is two months enough time for everyone to put their Plan Bs into effect if they don’t get their first choice? Maybe it will turn out to be so, but until we see how it plays out in real time, it’s hard to say from here.