Dan Mullen, Nick Saban on opposite sides of the new early signing period debate

Sban, Mullen on opposite sides of early signing period debate

An early signing period officially was adopted for college football last week, and Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen thinks it could have a significant impact.

“If the majority of kids are signing on December 15, then in the future that’s going to affect how we do things because that’s the really going to become the new signing day,” Mullen said Monday on the SEC coaches’ teleconference. “It’s going to be interesting to see how the whole thing shakes out and how guys go about it. Are prospects looking to take more visits in season or early December?

“Or are guys going to let the whole recruiting process play out and the early signing day be what it’s designed for, which is for guys that know where they’re going to school or have already made commitments to their schools. Just to get recruiting over with and get it out of the way.”

Mullen was credited for doing a lot of “heavy lifting” in getting the early signing period approved by the NCAA Division I football oversight committee.

The new three-day early signing period will be December 20-22; National Signing Day will remain the first Wednesday in February.

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Alabama’s Nick Saban does not seem as enthused about the early signing period.

“The biggest fear with having an early signing date is that it would become the signing date, that it would accelerate recruiting in the season, make more guys take visits during the season,” Saban said on the teleconference. “I think these things will probably become true.

“I don’t know that all those things are good things. I don’t know that accelerating the calendar like we’re talking about and letting guys visit in the spring is all that good, either.”

College basketball players has had an early signing period since 1982 in addition to the usual spring signing period, and talk of an early signing period for football has been around since at least the mid-1990s.

(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)

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