Tim May The Columbus Dispatch
With the first dual signing periods in major college football behind them, coaches and their staffs are preparing for the first official visits allowed during the spring, from April through June.
“This dynamic is ever-changing,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.
Several coaching colleagues agreed. But if history is a guide, they will figure out a way to embrace it.
Meyer was outspoken in opposing the early signing period that began Dec. 20, but he and his staff signed 22 blue-chips recruits that day, the core of what wound up the No. 2 ranked class in the nation after the addition of four players on Feb. 7.
“We did very well … but the timing of that (early date) was very, very hard on my staff and myself” because the Buckeyes played Dec. 2 in the Big Ten championship game, Meyer said. “But it all worked out. January was far less drama.”
That was the upshot, Purdue coach Jeff Brohm agreed.
“I think a lot of coaches actually liked it more than they thought they would,” Brohm said this month after speaking at the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association clinic. “And I think it was actually a positive for everybody (including the prospects) because the guys who had been committed for a while got to get it over with in December … and you were able to focus on the few slots you had left.”
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen laughed when he mentioned one positive in particular.
“It prevented Ohio State from stealing some of our guys,” he said. “They did get one (defensive end/tight end Alex Williams of Pickerington). … But it’s been good. … We worked hard to get a good 20-22 guys that we recruited for a long time, guys who maintained their allegiance and signed with us on that early date.”
There has been talk since of moving the first signing day even earlier, but Iowa State coach Matt Campbell agreed with Meyer, Brohm and Holgorsen that it’s best where it is.
“Any earlier is a mistake, because I think it would put kids at a disadvantage with the amount of (coaching staff) changes that can happen right after a season,” Campbell said. “I think the date where it is now gives a kid an out if there is a change.”
But earlier official visits are coming, which Holgorsen saw as peculiar because most schools did well in December despite dealing with the previous restrictions of not allowing official visits until the fall of the prospects’ senior year.
“That’s where the jury is still out, obviously, because it hasn’t happened yet,” Brohm said. “I don’t think people will use those visits as much as some anticipate, because in my opinion you’re going to have to be careful bringing guys in on visits if you don’t yet have a good idea of what they want to do.”
Brohm said that based on conversations with other coaches, he expects most official visits to stay about where they are now, during the season and in those first couple of weekends before the December signing period. Holgorsen said there is reason for that.
“Once again, the closer you can get those kids to visit to signing day, the higher chance you’ve got of getting them,” Holgorsen said. “Kids have short-term memories.”