One of the hot button issues around the recruiting world is the potential implementation of an early signing period. The time period that is currently being discussed is around December.
Currently, national signing day is in early February each year. That is the earliest any recruit can sign with his team. The ability to sign earlier than is something Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer views as beneficial.
”I’m for it,” Shafer said. “A lot of people don’t agree with me. I think it’s the chair you’re sitting in at the University that will reflect your opinion to help yourself or not help yourself. For us, I think an early signing period is very beneficial to us. I wish it was earlier. I think there’s talk of having an early signing date in December around the junior college signing time. For me, I wish it were earlier because I think my guys do a great job of finding talent when they’re coming out of their sophomore year and into their junior year. We’ve been ahead of the curve. We’ve done a lot of very good recruiting for other people.
”Because they can come in and poach our kids. We’ve had example after example of that in the city (New York City), in Dade and even up into New Jersey where we find out about a kid and if he’s good enough we’re the first to offer. If they had an early signing date in August or end of July, without changing the calendar of recruiting, without messing with the livelihood of coaches across America, I think it would be very beneficial to us to have it even earlier than December.”
Shafer would prefer the date be towards the end of the summer prior to a prospect’s season season. That would allow them to focus on their last year of high school, their senior season, and making sure they are in good standing academically.
”Then, you can do a couple things,” Shafer said. “You don’t have to worry about him being poached by another school. The young man, before the season starts, is signed, sealed and delivered. Now he can have a great senior season enjoying his final year of high school. I feel bad for the kids because half of them don’t even know what they’re missing out on. Imagine being a senior in high school. You have practice all week and your big game is on Friday. You have all this homework and you’re trying to get your eligibility squared away for whatever school you want to go to. Get your grades to a high level. You’re trying to prepare for your season with your coach and win all those games that you can and play at a high level.
”Then you’re fielding 15 phone calls a night and messages a night from coaches. I think the process makes it really hard for a kid to enjoy his senior year. Let’s say 15 coaches make a call to a highly regarded recruit. All those folks on all the websites are going after him saying ‘how did the talk go with coach? How did it go? How did it go?’ All of that time focusing on the next step instead of winning the day in front of him. That bothers me. So I think an early signing date can help some of those things. But with it being in December, that’s not going to help that process. The other side of it is, you have a kid that really knows where he wants to go to school. Not just Syracuse, but anywhere across the country.
”Maybe you have a kid who grew up in Ohio and he wants to go play for the Buckeyes,” he continued. “His father is from Ohio and played for Ohio State and had a love for that school. Why not sign him early before the season? Say that kids that truly know what they wanted to do and make their decision now and not worry about them throughout the course of the season. That’s my take on it and I know a lot of guys would disagree with it because all of their reasons they have for it.”