Caulton Tudor

Early football signing period could be on the way

Posted April 13

An early scholarship signing period in college football makes so much sense that it could fail to get approval this week by the NCAA Division I Council on competition.

The recommendation will go before the group Thursday and/or Friday during its meetings at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.

For years, the only football signing period has started on the first Wednesday in February, which would remain a part of the equation under the current proposal. But additional opportunities to sign would also be incorporated. One would be in mid-December and another could eventually be added for August.

High school coaches long have favored the idea for the simple reason that recruiting competition can be chaotic and overwhelming for players and their families. It often falls to those overworked high school coaches to direct much of that recruiting traffic while attempting to help manage the pressure on prospects.

But there’s a catch with the proposition the NCAA will hear from member schools – early signing is bundled with a recommendation to expand coaching staffs to 10 full-time assistants for the 2018 season.

The current limit for full-time aides is nine, although the vast majority of programs in the ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big 12 and Pac-12 have much larger overall staffs. Clemson lists 21 football employees aside from head coach Dabo Swinney, and the nine full-time aides on its athletic directory.

Ever-increasing football payrolls aren’t a financial burden for Clemson and other top-line programs, but can be for some schools, particularly those in leagues outside the autonomous five.

Rough week for ACC QBs

Meanwhile, on the playing field, it’s been a miserable recent stretch for ACC quarterbacks.

Georgia Tech’s Matt Jordan (foot) and Miami’s Jack Allison (shoulder) both went down with spring injuries last weekend and won’t return for any remaining spring drills.

The quarterback position will be league-wide hotspot when pre-season drills open in August. Although Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson will be back at Louisville and all-star candidate Deondre Francois at Florida State, QB drain was extensive.

Clemson, Virginia Tech, Miami, UNC and Pitt all will be turning to new starters.

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