As personable and as entrenched in kids’ lives as Urban Meyer is, there’s no wonder he never really favored an early signing period. To him, you had to really get to know a kid and a kid had to really get to know a school. There was no point in getting guys who were in love with you one moment and then drifted later.
On the other hand, one could look at Meyer and ask why he wouldn’t want one. I mean Meyer had to deal with losing Nu’Keese Richardson and Marsalis Teague to Tennessee last year on National Signing Day and watched as his only defection from this year’s class, Demar Dorsey, end up at Michigan. However, it looks more like Florida dropped Dorsey, but I wonder what would have happened if he could have signed earlier.
You can even go back to the 2006 class when Meyer got top defensive back Patrick Robinson, only to see him switch to Florida State on signing day.
If Florida’s last recruiting class is any indication, the Gators’ staff is looking to reel kids in earlier and earlier, and now Meyer is having second thoughts on the possibility of an early signing period in college football.
He’s only up for it if coaches can be in charge of the signing period and the dead periods and how recruits visit campuses. Meyer, who is no stranger to stress, said he would like to see more dead periods in an early signing period in order to give coaches more free time with their families. He also wants players to be able to regroup and have a life away from recruiting.
“What you don’t want to do is all of a sudden in July have 26 kids visiting your campus,” Meyer said. “You just can’t do that. At what point when does a coach get to spend time with his family? We can’t let that happen.
“If you have an early signing date in December and you’re tied in with a guy that doesn’t want to take any other visits … I’m in favor of that.”
Having an early signing period would just push all the recruiting goodness up in the year. But even Meyer said that has to be monitored as well. With an early date, visits can get compacted, making it harder for kids to get individual time with coaches. It also hinders a coaching staff’s evaluation of a player during his senior year. Oh, and we can’t forget that kids might not get enough time with every school they’re interested in.
Meyer likes the idea of certain kids being able to sign early with a school, but moving all the recruiting business up in the year makes for much faster, and sometimes unwise, thought processes.
“You have to be careful of that,” he said. “The development of a player as a senior is really important on our end in the evaluation process. Now, on their end, there’ s an evaluation process where I think guys should look at different schools.”
With the 2011 class getting its early evaluations and communication is just starting to heat up between players and schools, Meyer has but one wish to make his life a little less stressful in 2010: If you want to play for a school and you don’t have any intentions of looking elsewhere, get it over with and stick to your word. If you’re not sure where you really want to go, that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the constant cat-and-mouse games in recruiting are starting to irk head coaches.
“I can’t stand it when (players say), ‘I want to commit, but I’m going to take 12 other visits and try out a bunch of different hats along the way,’ ” he said. “Try those hats on. Go look at those schools, look around and then come back, and if you want to jump in with both feet we’ll take you. I love recruiting those kinds of guys.”