A number of coaches around the country have quibbled and voiced their complaints about the new early signing period for college football recruits. Brent Venables is not one of those coaches.
Clemson’s defensive coordinator likes the fact that the early signing period, which was approved by the Collegiate Commissioners Association last May, allowed the Tigers to lock up the majority of their 2018 recruiting class in December.
Clemson signed all 12 of its committed players and picked up three more prospects on Dec. 20 — the first day of the inaugural three-day early signing period — two months before the traditional National Signing Day on the first Wednesday in February.
“I think it has worked to our advantage,” Venables told The Clemson Insider recently in regard to the early period. “I think there is more positive than there is negative.”
Venables believes the early signing period is beneficial in that it gives Clemson and other schools a clearer picture of where they stand on the recruiting front heading into the new year.
While Clemson’s 2018 class is mostly complete, the Tigers are still looking to add several key players in February. Because of the early signing period, Clemson has been able to reset its recruiting board and reallocate time and resources to a select group of targets in advance of National Signing Day.
“It gives clarity for both players and coaches,” Venables said. “Commitment and loyalty is a two-way street. So for us, it helps save time and money going into January. It allows us to really focus on what our needs are down the stretch.
“And for the young men, it helps them move on to that next stage, whether it is an all-star game or getting ready to get their dorm room right, all those types of things. So, I think there’s tremendous advantage to having it.”
Venables also feels the early signing period sort of polices the system, so to speak.
While Clemson is faithful in honoring commitment and upholding its end of the bargain with recruits, that is too often not the case in the current college football recruiting landscape.
Venables thinks the addition of an early signing period helps clean up the business of recruiting.
“We’re really holding the coaches and the colleges responsible, because I think we’ve become poor examples for what leadership should look like,” Venables said. “Where kids are getting their scholarships pulled, and kids have been committed for a very long time, and then coaches are doing a very poor job of reciprocating the commitment and things of that nature when they get somebody better…
“It’s very poor leadership. So I think it gives us an opportunity to really clean up a lot of the messiness that’s been there. And I think it gives kids and coaches a real understanding of whether or not there’s a true commitment taking place.”