Kirby Smart said he isn’t for or against an early signing period in college football. But he did express concerns that could lead to unintended consequences.
The Collegiate Commissioners Association approved an early signing period, which will now take place from Dec. 20-22. Football recruits will be able to sign a national letter-of-intent during this 72-hour window if they prefer. If not, they will have to wait until National Signing Day, which lands on the first Wednesday of February.
“It’ll be interesting because you’ll have some kids who want to sign early,” Smart said. “You’re going to have others who don’t. You’re going to get a lot of pressure on kids not to sign from other schools, to wait and see what comes available.”
With the number of prospects in a college football class, seeing who signs early will be quite the revelation for college football coaches. Those who sign early will be off limits at that point. Those who don’t, who otherwise may have appeared committed to another program, could be seen as back in play. Opposing coaches, Smart said, could try to pressure recruits into waiting until February instead of signing sooner.
“There is going to be a lot of pressure from maybe the school you’re supposed to go to,” Smart said. “There is going to be a lot of pressure from other schools to say, ‘Why don’t you wait to see what happens to that staff and that coach?’”
Another complication Smart expressed concern about is the timing of the early signing period. In the past, late December was a down period in recruiting, with teams getting ready for the postseason. High school players are usually wrapping up final exams and in the midst of the playoffs, with an early signing period adding one more task to an already full schedule.
“Now all of a sudden you’re going to put a signing day right there,” Smart said. “It’ll be interesting to see who manages it best.”