BATON ROUGE, La. — After initially opposing the NCAA’s new early signing period for college football, LSU coach Ed Orgeron finds himself adjusting his views — and his belt buckle.
Orgeron has two equally important tasks this month.
The first is to prepare the Tigers for the Citrus Bowl against Notre Dame on New Year’s Day. No less vital is his need to prepare the Tigers for the future by sealing the deal with the bulk of their new recruiting class. The early signing period is Dec. 20-22, a significant jump forward from the traditional February signing day.
Orgeron expects all but 5-10 members of the incoming class to sign this month.
When the early signing period was officially approved by the Collegiate Commissioners Association this May, Orgeron was not a fan. But now he’s finding himself warming up to the concept.
“You have to adjust,” Orgeron said. “I am going to look at it as a positive. Now I need to see what goes on on signing day. It’s going to be a dead period, and we have a big practice that day. So we’ll be waiting by the fax machine early in the morning, calling guys late at night and working for practice. So it’s going to be interesting.”
The biggest upside to Orgeron’s slew of December in-home visits? The food, of course.
“I like [this period], myself,” Orgeron said. “Especially when I get into one home and there’s a gumbo and potato salad. And I went to the next home, and it was the best red beans and rice and fried chicken and corn bread I’d eaten in a long time. So I guess I’m going to need to get some bigger pants.”
When he gets those wider pants, Orgeron’s focus will turn to putting the finishing touches on the signing class. Though he has yet to see how the early signing period pans out, his hope is that he will have more time to focus on reeling in the biggest fish in the class on Feb. 7.
“If you sign the number I expect to sign, it gives you time to target in on the big-time guys and spend more time with them,” Orgeron said. “You get one day to see them every week. You can hang out at their school all day, instead of seeing two or three guys a day.”
The other benefit is getting an early start on the Class of 2019. With this year’s juniors looking like one of the most formidable recruiting classes in Louisiana’s strong history, the importance of that can’t be overstated.
“It gives you the advantage of junior recruiting. We’ve always said 2019 is a great year in Louisiana,” Orgeron said. “You can see it with the new reports that are coming out.”