Meyer likes early signing period


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.”


  1. Mr. Aschoff is incredible. His insight was the most accurate of anyone’s, and he gave great analysis of the position of many recruits. I cannot say enough about his work. To echo brandon above, the Gator Nation does indeed appreciate him.

  2. Meyer then needs to take his thoughts and make them a hard rule. If a player wants to commit to UF then he has already done all his visits. If he wants to take visits then go ahead but wait until then to commit to UF. If a player commits to UF and then takes other visits then Meyer should rescind the offer. This way kids get the true meaning of what ‘comittment’ means.

  3. I would agree with “slims” comments if ALL coaches were on the same page. However, many top recruits will just say “fine, I’ll just go to one of the other 50 schools offering me” which will give some coaches and schools (like Lane Kiffin)an unfair advantage. I think an early signing period in the middle of December will eliminate alot of the last minute nonsense and will help with early enrollees, but unless you make a “commitment” or for that matter, an “offer” somehow binding, there will always be some foolishness in the process.

  4. The process just feeds the “ME” beast in many of these kids. The money, facilities and savvy coaches involved today is just staggering. Something should be done to help curtail some of these kids unchecked egos. To be honest, I doubt at 18-19 I would have had the maturity to visit some of these upper tier programs and not have my head spinning. Hopefully, an early signing period would help eliminate some of it. Your never going to eliminat the “Prima Donna” recruits but an early signing period would be a step in the right direction.

  5. You are truly good at what you do BRAVO.

    However, what i feel needs to happen are tighter regulations on coaches that constantly. Harp on a kid that is comitted to a school by outside coaches such as Lane, Orgeron, Les miles and Dumbo Fisher. They are always in the ear of these kids that have comitted and will not take NO for an answer. That is wrong and should not be allowed to happen. Talking to a kid and keeping in touch with him is fine with me. But non stop pestering of a kid to visit your school after he says no the first time should be stopped and monitored.

  6. James, do you think Meyer never does this? Do the names Omar Hunter and Justin Trattou mean anything to you? They are big time contributors and are among several recruits that Meyer stole by being persistent over the past 5 years. I’m a huge Gator fan but I’m not blinded by my fanhood. All schools do it including ours.

  7. Michigan media have taken on Rich Rod and questioned why he would sign Dorsey, a thug with a record of armed robbery and questionable judgment. signing him early would have been a mistake for Florida. Like Tenn signing Richardson last year. Early signing is a mistake. Florida has signed the right players. Those who didn’t are those who did not think they could compete with the talents signed by Florida or the standards of Urban and the staff.