OU coach Bob Stoops would not mind having an early signing date for high school players
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Sunday, February 10, 2013
2/10/13 at 6:51 AM
NORMAN - Keith Ford was Oklahoma's first verbal commit of the 2013 recruiting class.
The Cypress, Texas, running back stayed true to his word, signing a letter of intent last Wednesday to make his pledge official.
In the final weeks leading up to signing day, Sooners running backs coach Cale Gundy made a number of trips to visit Ford. It was important to stay active in Ford's recruiting since schools made late runs at the talented running back.
Ford's recruitment could have been alleviated if football had an early signing period similar to college basketball.
"I'd like to have a signing date on Dec. 1," Gundy said. "For example, I had Keith Ford committed ever since (March) of this past year. I went down there every week that I could in December and every week in January. I went down there six times.
"Basically, I'd go down there and spend an hour, two hours and put my arm around him and make sure everything's good."
Gundy pointed out that an early signing period would have saved OU money as well as time by coaches to maintain an already locked-in recruit.
Bob Stoops also prefers an early signing period. The coach, entering his 15th season with the Sooners, said he'd like to see high school recruits given the option to sign in mid-December, when junior-college players can sign scholarship papers.
"I would only be in agreement with (an early signing period) if it was around the junior-college signing period. What is that (Dec.) 20, 21, somewhere around there," he said.
"The reason is you have junior-college guys signing and you have more and more high school players that are entering the second semester into college, so they would get to have their signing day. There's been adequate time to visit campuses, because you've had the entire fall, which is a 10-week period to get your four or five visits."
Stanvon Taylor, an East Central High School product, gave a verbal commitment in May 2012. If given the opportunity, he would have ended his recruiting two months ago.
"Yes, I would have signed early," said Taylor, who drew recruiting inquiries from other schools in the final weeks. "I knew that (Oklahoma) was for me as soon as I got the offer. I knew it in my heart."
It would have been interesting to see how the process of two other OU recruits would have played out if an early signing period was available.
Dominique Alexander dropped his verbal commitment to Arkansas on Nov. 5. Hours later, he accepted a scholarship offer from OU.
Alexander could have taken advantage of an early signing period. Instead he kept some on edge by making last-minute visits to Arkansas and Kansas State.
L.J. Moore, a cornerback from Fresno, Calif., was OU's last recruit to sign a letter of intent. But the Sooners' chances were barely on the radar after Moore never visited Norman in the 2012 season.
Moore, a high school teammate of OU recruit Hatari Byrd, did visit on Jan. 11. Then the Sooners beat out Arizona State and Oregon State during recruiting's last stretch.
Original Print Headline: Early signing date would have many benefits
Eric Bailey 918-581-8391