Like all of the top coaches in college football, Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops logged an incredible amount of flight miles in the last two months to conclude the Sooners’ 2016 class.
It’s necessary, and there’s really no way around it. But what if instead of eliminating the chaos, it just gets controlled a bit?
One way to do that would be with an early signing period, something Stoops said he would be in favor of when addressing OU’s 2016 recruiting class.
“I just think, when I say early, I would think because we have five guys who are here mid-year. They ought to have a signing and/or if a guy wants to, it should be around Dec. 20 to coincide with junior college guys signing.
“Because some kids are leaving school early and even if they want to sign, they can. They don’t have to. The point being that they know where they want to go and they want to sign, they ought to have a right to. Not earlier than that, I don’t believe.”
There were certain signees for OU where this would have worked. Guys like Jordan Parker, Abdul Adams, Jon-Michael Terry are some of the names that never flinched once they made their commitment.
That’s not to say it was a waste of time to reconnect with them, but it wasn’t vital to the process because the work had already been put in. They knew they were valued members of the class and top priorities of OU. An in-home visit didn’t make any more of that case.
Stoops’ date, though, is intriguing. Some have argued it needs to be earlier than that with the consensus being right around August or September. But Stoops gave a pretty clear reason as to why he doesn’t fall into that line of thinking.
“Anything in August or like that, I’m not for. Because, to me, we get a lot of visits through the fall. You can take three or four visits through the fall and still sign on Dec. 20 so they still had opportunities to visit. I’d be in favor for one in December, not in August.”
The only way an August signing period would work is if the official visit calendar is tweaked. With prospects not being allowed to take visits until their senior year of high school, it sort of limits what you can do as a junior.
A lot of juniors are able to make unofficial visits but not everybody can. Not everybody has the budget to fly or drive to all their destinations and foot the bills for hotel rooms and food and gas and things of that nature.
Recruiting has gone through dramatic changes in the last 5-10 years. Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley knows that. He doesn’t have the answers, but he knows something is out there that can be done.
“There’s been some different suggestions. I’m not sitting up here saying I have the answers because I don’t. I’ve got a lot more things that I’ve got to worry about than that. I think signing earlier, being able to tie in some accountability to a commitment or an offer for a scholarship has to be looked at.
“There’s different ways to do that but I think – we talk all the time about educating these young people and then we’ve got a system where you can tell everybody what you want with something so important – I would hope we would be looking to send a better message than that.”