Greg McElroy knows what is coming in just over a week, and he knows it will not be pretty.
The first-ever college football early signing period kicks off next week, allowing Class of 2018 prospects to sign their national letter of intent prior to National Signing Day during a three-day window from Dec. 20-22.
The majority of the “early” signatures are expected to be put from pen to paper on Wednesday, Dec. 20. It’ll be a joyous day for many.
But by Thursday, Dec. 21, things are going to turn ugly. At least that’s what former Alabama QB Greg McElroy cautioned listeners during his Tuesday morning appearance on SiriusXM’s ESPNU Radio.
“There are some unintended consequences that are about to happen here in the next nine days,” McElroy said. “I can’t take credit for this take. This take is directly from assistant coaches who are currently on the road recruiting– several of which I’ve had the chance to talk to and some of which I’ve talked to in the last couple of days. And they are very concerned.
“Guys, for assistant coaches and position coaches in particular — a very dark day is coming on Dec. 21. Either Dec. 21 or the head coach says ‘You know what, I can’t do it before Christmas. I’m going to do it on Dec. 26.’ There are going to be a lot– maybe a record number– of assistant coaches that are either let go or they leave the program that they are currently recruiting to. Assistant coaches, that is, because they’re going to get guys to sign on the dotted line Dec. 20 and then on Dec. 21 the head coach is going to say ‘Hey, by the way, thank you for what you’ve done but you’re no longer needed here.’
This exercise is not unprecedented. Head coaches have been waiting out the dismissal of assistant coaches to secure signing classes for years. But the change in the recruiting schedule and landscape could expedite those decisions this year.
McElroy also brought up the addition of another full-time assistant coach on FBS staff for the 2018 season, which will further complicate an already hectic time for assistant coaches and teenage recruits who are looking for guidance on a college decision.
“One more thing, too,” McElroy said. “This year, in college football, they are adding a 10th assistant coach. So that means there are an additional 128 jobs coming open at the FBS level. So there’s going to be unprecedented movement, more than likely, throughout the assistant coaching world. So I get concerned about the guys who are signing for a position coach or they develop this incredible relationship with a position coach and then all of the sudden, nine days from now, as soon as you sign, that coach is let go, dismissed or takes another job.
“Watch. I guarantee you that on Dec. 21 there will be more assistant coach changes than we’ve ever seen on one single day in college football history.”
As far as the SEC is concerned, it already has been a hectic coaching carousel season with the replacement of six head coaches and the subsequent adjustment to the assistant and support staffs that has followed.
You can listen to McElroy’s discussion on the subject here:
The new early signing period is just 8 days away…
— ESPNU Radio on SiriusXM (@ESPNUonSiriusXM) December 12, 2017