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ATVS Roundtable: Talking the Early Signing Period

What does our recruiting team think of next week’s December signing period?

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

So, the early signing period is a week away -— do we think this is a good thing or a bad thing?


I think it's a good thing. You get these commits signed, sealed and delivered, allowing the staff to focus all their resources on finishing off the class with a bang, instead of splitting time between your targets and making sure the commits are still feeling the love. Last thing you would want back in the day is pay too much attention to your targets, while a new coach somewhere swoops in and steals a commit because they're giving him more attention.


I think, as much as anything, I'm mostly curious to see how things play out. Do we see the big names sign, or more the lower-tier kids who need to lock up their spot now. We know that the early enrollee kids will, and it's probably for them to have a day, since they don't really get all the hubbub in February since they're already in school. And then there's the aftermath, where teams swarm after the kids that are still free. It stands to reason that the mid-major programs could have their commitments pillaged by the power teams, but who knows?

From LSU's standpoint, I want to see how the coaches re-set their board after it all shakes out. It's no secret that this class has its share of kids that maybe haven't developed how the staff foresaw, as well as some grade risks and kids that were injured this past season. We know that the staff wants to sign as many as they can, but will some be told to hold off a bit? Or if the kids decide to do it themselves will it be a situation where the staff doesn't really count them as a solid commitment anymore?

First time running through this, and I'm sure we'll see a pattern emerge eventually, but right now we don't know what that is.


It's too early for me to draw any real conclusions. I've definitely seen the ripple effects as it pertains to coaching hires. Many schools had abbreviated searches or chose to roll with in-house options for recruiting continuity purposes. Largely this is just going to move the date up for a bunch of recruits. A lot of coaches are gambling that the bulk of their classes will sign in December. Will it happen? That should be interesting to see. Speaking of LSU specifically, if some of these kids that are more fringe members of the class and looking around, the staff might just cut ties altogether and use that an excuse.

I do think LSU took the smart approach here trying to get the majority of the class signed so they could hone in on the elite targets in this class. I believe it will pay major dividends with someone like JaMarr Chase, who has long felt he wasn't valued by LSU, when they can bring him to campus and focus solely on him and not him and 8 other prospects.

Another dynamic I'm fascinated by is the late offer cycle. This is the time of the year where boards are typically being reset a bit. You are gauging your commits for how solid they are, but also checking remaining targets to see if you really do have a shot or if it's sunk cost and time to move on. When coaches move on, they move down the board, typically to an in-state player they previously considered a back-up option. How is that cycle impacted with a renewed focus on signing as many as possible as early as possible?

If you were on this staff, would you try to sign as many as you can, or spread things out a bit?


I think this staff has it about right. Obviously, not every recruit is going to commit and sign early, so I'd like around 17-18 signed, sealed and delivered, so you have room for the guys you are currently targeting, along with two or three that may have garnered an offer during the late evaluation period, something we've already seen with guys like Mario Goodrich and Donald Johnson. They may be backup-plan offers or they may have earned that offer on their own merit. Either way, it shows the staff is using this new signing day to their advantage.


Definitely sign as many as possible. I'm following tea leaves here, but take a look at our commits that are taking visits to other schools near this timeframe. A guy like Ardarius Washington has been flirting pretty heavily with TCU and he's one of the lowest rated guys in the class. If I follow that scent trail, I'd think he's one that's likely to not wind up in the class, especially if the staff has good feelings on Anthony Cook. To me, those are the guys that the staff is probably letting the leash run a little long on, because they are okay with losing them if it happens, but also probably feel like they can make a recovery if necessary.


Yeah, it's one of those deals where without knowing the exact details, we don't know what kids are maybe getting encouraged to look around a bit, as well. Somebody like Washington, from a major state power coached by an alumnus, isn't likely going to get pushed out, but Steve Ensminger and Corey Raymond may just give the kid a straight answer. Look, if you really want to be here, we'd love to have you, but here's the depth chart situation, and if you aren't sure, that's fine. But understand that we're going to fill that spot and the longer this goes it may not work out for you.

Likewise, there are kids that have been hurt and maybe want to grayshirt (although if the 2019 class is as good as advertised they may not want to take spots away from that) to come in at 100 percent.

I don't think they land all 20 guys though — and really it would be 21 since Terrace Marshall is committing and signing then and most believe it will be with LSU.