Posted: 9:42 am Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson supports an early signing period 

By Michael Carvell

Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson, like the majority of college football coaches, supports the general idea of an early signing period for the sport.

“You’re going to see an early signing period here at some time,” Johnson told the AJC. “There needs to be an early signing period, just from a financial standpoint and from everything else. So that the kids who know where they want to go can get it done, and get it over with and save a bunch of money and a bunch of time …

Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson AJC)

Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson AJC)

“It’s nuts right now. And financially, it doesn’t make sense to not have an early signing period. If you’ve got a kid who grew up wanting to go to Georgia Tech, Georgia, Alabama, or wherever, and they’ve known that their whole life, why not let them sign in November or December? Why do they have to wait until February?

“And then when they sign, the schools know exactly how many scholarships that they have left. They know exactly the numbers. It wouldn’t be as chaotic, and it would be a whole lot less expensive than trying to babysit them for three months.”

Does Johnson think kids should be allowed take official visits during the summer before their senior year of high school? (Right now, they have to wait until Sept. 1, per NCAA rules)

“Kids are already taking visits now. I mean, with the majority of our recruiting class – and I bet you can go back and look at anybody’s recruiting class, the majority of the kids are committed by August, which is before you can take official visits. What’s happening is if they did an early signing period, maybe they could do earlier visits or whatever because right now kids are having to pay for it themselves. They’re all taking unofficial visits.

“I think what you would see happen is that the kids who weren’t sure and wanted to take official visits, they wouldn’t sign in the early period. That’s why I say I think you’d do away with all the early verbal commitments. Because if a kid is verbally committed in August or July, and he didn’t sign in December, what does that tell you? It tells you that maybe it really wasn’t a verbal commitment. So the kids who do want to sign can get it over with, and not be pestered and bothered until February. And like I said, it’s not going to affect anybody. You could have a provision in there that if the coach changed, then the early signing was null and void. That would protect (the kids) that way. There’s a way to do it.

“Every other sport has an early signing period but us. It hasn’t affected basketball that much. You don’t see all the de-commitments in basketball. They are recruiting less people but they also have an early signing date. There’s a couple of reasons. Once a kid commits, they don’t let them visit anywhere else if they’re committed. If they do, they’re not committed, same as everybody else. That’s one. And number two, they sign early. So if they are committed and signing early, it’s over. They don’t have an extra 10 weeks to be hammered and talked out of what they thought they wanted to do. And it’s like I always said: If a kid isn’t sure what he really wants to do, then don’t sign early. Just go through recruiting, and they’ll have another date to sign in February.”

What about the theory that bigger schools want to leave things just as they are right now with a February signing period because they can raid smaller schools for recruits if there is a coaching change after the season? For example, USC had some late success on the recruiting trail after hiring Steve Sarkisian to replace a fired Lane Kiffin.

“I think that’s that is overrated, and that’s just my personal opinion. I think if you look at the schools, and it doesn’t matter who the coach is — it doesn’t change much,” Johnson said. “The schools kind of recruit who they are going to recruit. It doesn’t change a whole lot. If you go back and look at the schools: Does Saban recruit better than when Mike Shula was there? Probably, (but) because they were on probation. But it’s not like Alabama hasn’t ever gotten good recruits. They were pretty good before, right?

“Go back and look at the University of Georgia. You can look at Georgia Tech. You can go back and look at all of them. There’s not much difference with who the coach is. Was Georgia not getting top 10 classes with Donnan and Goff and Dooley? Gene Chizik didn’t have any problems recruiting at Auburn. Neither did Tuberville or whomever. That’s why I say that part is not why they don’t do it (an early signing period). They’re not waiting to hire some young gun to come in … and all of sudden he’s going to reach into recruiting and all of sudden he’s going to get a top five recruiting class and that school never did. Sarkisian goes to Southern Cal but oh by the way when is the last time that Southern Cal wasn’t in the top 10 of recruiting? Not very often. It doesn’t matter who the coach has been. That’s what I’m saying.

“I don’t know why they (the NCAA) don’t do it (an early signing period), honestly. But when you sit in on the head coaches meeting, you’ll have guys on both sides. You’ll have guys from smaller schools, and then some guys from bigger schools both say in favor of an (early signing period) to speed up the process or kids don’t have enough and the whole nine yards. My answer is that, if you don’t have enough time (as a recruit), don’t sign early. Take your time. Make sure you’ve got what you want. If you’re good enough, the colleges will wait on you.”

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64 comments
RedandBlackDAWG
RedandBlackDAWG

I wonder just how much impact an early signing period is going to have any way. I don't really think most of the really sought after kids are going to commit early anyway. They want to get their 5 official visits in and get wined and dined like a celebrity, and they want their 15 minutes of fame. I think the rule, if implemented will really have very littler participation from the athletes themselves. For a few marginal players of less talent, it might be good, but you would hope a coach isn't just aiming for those players and not trying to reach for the better ones.  If the kid really wants to go to a particular school, waiting until signing day as it is now, isn't going to be all that hard. What happens if a coach signs a iffy player and then a much more talented player at that position wants to play for him, but he hasn't got room to sign him. Regret City at that point.

If your coach feels that he can't offer the kid his best choice and he will switch, even after making a verbal commitment, then most likely, the kid was hoping to improve his standing but wanted to make sure, no matter what, that he at least had a place to showcase his talent.

Even if the kid decides to sign early and then has a lot of regrets, is this the type of player that will give 100% on the field to a school, he regrets signing early with? If he knows he can do better, he might just transfer, and wait a year, or take advantage of one of the numerous NCAA loop-holes, regarding transfers.

Let the kids have their time in the sun and keep the single day signing period for them. Most of the highly sought after athletes want that little national day coverage as it is on ESPN or some other sports program and they want the attention.

gbal
gbal

Make the early signing in August! Why wait till December?

POAD2013
POAD2013

#1 rule has to be that a kid can't sign early without a Qualifying ACT or SAT score. 

POAD2013
POAD2013

WnE...............you are WRONG on this issue and by answering Every post on this blog will not make you right.

Face you are Against it because the STANFORD coach said he is against it. We know you are a Stanford fan. You love that crappy football school so much that you mention them in almost every post.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

Of more importance, I read where CPJ got Bud Petersen to agree to >20% special admits for recruits.  That's huge.  

Paul Johnson has certainly done a fine job of recruiting smart players that can succeed at GT.  But we need 3 or 4 more 'high impact' players in every recruiting class.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

Paul has lost several good recruits near NSD due to some of the big boys had to drop to their B-list and some of GT's better recruits flipped near the end.  They will update something in the near future.

GTBob
GTBob

Personally I say take out all dates all together. Let a kid sign at any point if he wants to. 

thebucket
thebucket

I am in general agreement with CPJ on this one. As he stated in the article if a school really wants a kid and that kid really wants to get it over with, then what's the harm to let them go ahead and get it out of the way so the school can recruit the undecided kids and the kids and their families can enjoy their senior season in HS.

GTBob
GTBob

@RedandBlackDAWG  Regret City for coaches who don't have room for a player? Thats not likely for several reasons. One, almost all coaches have room for a top notch player on signing day. Most intentionally leave a spot or two open and fill them with walkons if nothing comes of them. Two, the majority of coaches in the country aren't going to go back on an offer they have made to a player who has committed to them. They aren't going to say hey we found someone better, best of luck.

I would also question the idea that no good athletes would ever sign early. It happens in basketball frequently. Plenty of guys know where they want to go and just want to get their recruiting over with.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@RedandBlackDAWG

"What happens if a coach signs a iffy player and then a much more talented player at that position wants to play for him, but he hasn't got room to sign him"

That's the whole point of allowing early signing.  Why should a player promise a school he is going there and then the school pushes him aside if they find a better player?  The guy earning $3MM a year shouldn't have offered him in the first place

GTBob
GTBob

@Birmingham__Jacket  Yep, there have been rumors of this for a while but it's good to see CPJ acknowledge it. No matter who the coach is the football team is going to need that kind of support if we are ever going to improve. Certainly a great sign.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@Birmingham__Jacket  Ken's article said that because of the excellent graduation rates of his first two classes, el presidente has allowed him more freedom to recruit players who may not have otherwise qualified academically.   Johnson said he won't abuse the privilege, but it will be nice to have at least one hand untied to fight.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

I would love for GT get in the race myself. If Paul can take some of those really good players out of Atlanta that are going to FAU then great. Hope Pruitt gets the rest and that is even better. I had much rather lose to UGA or GT than FAU.

RedandBlackDAWG
RedandBlackDAWG

@GTBob @RedandBlackDAWGAren't most really good BB player one and done deals though? I agree most coaches aren't going to renege on a promise they made, and they don't, I am sure have the legal right to do it, once the kid signs.

mjpearl.
mjpearl.

@MikeBanning Huh?  GT has the highest average SAT score for incoming Freshman football players for public schools in FBS.  We do not routinely accept recruits that are academically REJECTED from anyone.  In fact, we do not accept recruits that are academically REJECTED from anyone even once in a while.  Our standards are much higher than NCAA.  Stanford does not share its incoming Freshman football players SAT scores, so you have no idea what their standards are compared to Tech.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning Name one player - just one - who was rejected by Stanford but accepted by Tech.   Please, just one.

thebucket
thebucket

@MikeBanning @thebucket And nothing you have said or will say changes the fact that some kids have already made up their minds way before NSD of where they will attend school to play football. Again, if the school is ok with the recruit and the recruit is ok with the school, why prolong the process for that particular recruit?

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeBanning The teenagers can easily just not sign during the early signing period if they think they need more time.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning How do you have any idea whether their SATs are higher and whether or not it's easier to get into those schools?   God, you're such a a troll.

POAD2013
POAD2013

@MikeBanning....WnE.....spreading LIES/ HALF TRUTHS again. Come back with some PROOF. Maybe some wanted to sign but didn't want to study what The Institute has to offer.

SvenOttke
SvenOttke

@GTBob @MikeBanning What's that smell?  Oh never mind.  It's WnE/Mike Banning/buLLdawg/Thomas Davis getting cooked.

POAD2013
POAD2013

So WnE you are saying Stanford doesn't have Special Admits on their football team? Now that is funny.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning @GTBob Allow me, GTBob.


How do  I know those numbers are accurate?


Is this question from the guy who cites them as bible when it fits his agenda?   Surely that can't be true.


BTW, would those same recruits have EASILY gotten accepted to GT as FB  recruits?


This is entirely irrelevant to the issue.   

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeBanning

Kevin Hogan - 3.1 GPA

Barry Sanders Jr - 3.2-3.3 GPA depending on the source.

Ronnie Harris - 1480 three part SAT, equivalent to a 987 SAT score on the old scale.

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeBanning Where does the Jeremiah Attaochu claim come from? Do you have anything to back that up? I can't find anything that claims he was even looking at Stanford. What I do know is that Stanford has recently accepted guys with 3.1-3.3 GPA's and even one guy with an SAT score below 1000.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning  BTW, I noticed you included Attaochu.   I'd love to know where you got the information about him.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning Correct (in Young's case), which is not a rejection.   Get your facts right, troll.

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeBanning Then a coach can easily not offer a kid if they feel they do not currently have enough information about them. Most kids get offers way before the early signing period would happen.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning I'm not going to keep going through this with you.   You opening line was, "If you are going to have an early signing period..."   That's not opposition; that's a caveat.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning That's not an opposition.  The context was in providing additional caveats for the rule.   

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning And you might want to review your reading comprehension skills.   You didn't oppose it until you saw what Shaw said.   Rather, you only had a few additional rules you would like added to the rule.   That's not opposition.   


Again, try thinking for yourself and you wouldn't get caught like this so much.

POAD2013
POAD2013

@GeorgeStein the source is Taco Bell that is producing the Crap he types. You know he love Taco Bell.

STANFORD STANFORD STANFORD.............does WnE have any other school to bring up? Stanford SUCKS at Football and has for decades but WnE just loves his some Stanford.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning Yeah, that's what it is.   Y'know, the counter to removal of the restrictions is that he was under severe restrictions before, which kind of makes everything you've been saying under your various handles complete bulls---.

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeBanning Because it does change things for the kids involved. It gives them a way to actually end the recruiting circus and concentrate on their senior season. It also allows them to secure a spot with the school they want to go to and help that team out in the same process. As has already been said, if the kids and their parents feel that signing early is not beneficial to them, it is very easy not to sign.

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@GTBob

IF what you say is true, and there's no way to keep kids from making a decision they'll regret, then just leave things like they are.

Why change rules to make things easier for HCs making millions when it isn't going to change anything for the teens involved?

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeBanning That applies to the current signing period as much as it would to an early signing period. There is no way to protect against kids making decisions that they may regret later. 

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning Then they shouldn't sign.   This would also prevent coaches from pulling offers to kids who have signed. 

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@GeorgeStein

Lots of young people think they know something and are ready for something but they are not.

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@GeorgeStein

Do you think that a teen making an important decision fares better with LESS time to make that decision?

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning Does more time make it easier?   I'd love to know how you reached that conclusion.

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@GTBob

Really?

Teens being pressured by adults that have millions of dollars riding on the decision of those same teens.

The system is already stacked against the recruit/players, why make it harder and put more pressure on the teens.

More time makes it easier on the teens.