January 24, 2012

Analysts: Add another signing period

MORE: Analyst commitment predictions

Rivals.com's football recruiting analysts weigh in on a question of a day through National Signing Day on Feb. 1.

Today's question: If you could change one thing about National Signing Day in general, what would it be?

Mike Farrell: I'd actually make it a weeklong deal if I could. It's just not enough time for so much action to occur and I think it needs to be spread out a bit. But in its current state, I would love to eliminate the long, drawn-out press conferences and decisions by prospects. Taking an hour to name a school and having your third grade teacher speak about how you were growing up isn't really necessary. Step up to the table, pick your hat, tell us all why and be done with it. I really respect the players who have short, direct, to-the-point press conferences and don't play the game.

Adam Gorney: This would take away a lot of intrigue and speculation in the final weeks leading up to signing day but I've always felt it would be a good idea all around if a player chose to sign with a school before National Signing Day. Why if a prospect is absolutely certain of his destination couldn't he sign with that school and not have to deal with constant phone calls from coaches trying to persuade him and media trying to chase down rumors? Let the player out of his agreement if the head coach or his position coach goes to another school, which would probably not affect many recruits in the class. But why should a coaching staff be forced to keep spending resources on a prospect who isn't sure of his destination just because other coaches might try to come in and steal the recruit? It seems to me that if a player wants to end his recruitment by signing with a school earlier than a predetermined date, he should be allowed to do it.

Josh Helmholdt: If I could change anything about National Signing Day, it would be to have two of them. The recruiting process starts far too early to wait until February of a player's senior year to allow them to sign. Prospects are committing to schools during their sophomore years of high school, then have to wait close to two years before they can sign letters of intent. An early signing period in late August or early September is necessary. It would cure the process of many of the ills that plague it, and the NCAA needs to get more serious about taking legitimate steps to make the process easier on recruits, their parents and coaches. Recent legislation has only muddied the process, and put recruits and their families at a disadvantage. An early signing period is one step to help ease the burden placed on these.

Chris Nee: It wouldn't be about changing National Signing Day so much as adding an addition signing date, similar to how basketball has an early and late period. I would change the entire recruiting calendar and allow official visits earlier in the process. I would also suggest allowing prospects to sign with schools prior to the start of their senior season. It would help to end some of the craziness that always seems to come about in January.

Keith Niebuhr: I said it last year and I'll say it again: Kids should have somewhere from 48 hours to a week to "return" their letter of intent without penalty in case they have a change of heart. So many prospects get bombarded with offers late - especially the Plan B guys - that their heads are absolutely spinning by signing day. Give them a chance to take a step back and catch their breath.

Brian Perroni: I don't know if this is really changing National Signing Day in February but I would make a second one in August prior to the start of the football season. Many prospects, especially in my region, are already longtime commitments by then and it would take a lot of stress off them during their senior seasons. Many high school coaches would like it too because it would allow their guys to focus on high school football instead of recruiting.

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