The biggest change in college football recruiting over the past 30 years is the timetable. The entire process has been pushed up a year. Nowadays, most junior recruiting is completed by June before a prospect's senior year. In the past, it was done in December and January after the season.
Why did all of this begin to happen?
No one knows for sure. But the fact is some college coaches--Penn State's Joe Paterno pulled the trigger--began to offer scholarships earlier than usual and others had to do the same to catch up or risk losing out on a top-rated player. There was pressure on all schools to be competitive off the field as well as on it.
What don't I like about recruiting?
The constant pressure put on kids from everybody...coaches, recruiters, alumni, recruiting analysts, college websites, media. It comes from all directions and forces 18-year-olds to make hasty decisions before they are ready.
What would I change in the recruiting process to make it better?
I would give coaches more time to evaluate prospects. And kids should be limited to the number of camps or combines they can attend in the offseason so they can enjoy more of their junior and senior years.
As it is now, kids feel they are obligated to go to combines to get recognized. I'm not a big fan of an early signing period, as in college basketball, because so many kids de-commit now. They might sign with a coach who won't be there. A Sept. 1 signing date has been proposed but many coaches are fired after that date. Remember, over 50 percent of early commitments last year either de-committed or at least opted to visit other schools.
My advice to kids? Educate yourself about the process. Don't be afraid to ask questions? If you are absolutely sure that a school is right for you, make a commitment. If a light doesn't go off in your head, if you aren't absolutely certain you are making the right decision for the right reasons, wait until you are sure. Then you won't have any regrets.