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The morning chaos of today’s National Signing Day hasn’t gone away with the introduction of the December “early” signing period in the 2018 hiring cycle. He just moved six weeks ago.

In 2014, waking up at 6:45 AM ET to log in and post at 7 AM, we noticed that one expected recruit had not yet signed with Notre Dame by 8 AM. Pointing this out and reminding the world that the state of Michigan was making a late push resulted in an Irish media relations officer reaching out to quietly say something along the lines of, “Just let the young man be in school.”

In 2017, less than two weeks after taking office, waking up at 3 a.m. CET to say 2,000 words before signatures could become official eventually led to a nap. Brian KellyPress conference dedicated to the Signing Day.

10 months later, nothing has changed. That December, at noon on December 22, the Friday before Christmas, I spent waiting for the receiver. Braden Lenzi officially prefer Notre Dame to Oregon. Sitting at your parents’ kitchen table and not helping your niece make a gingerbread house because recruiting-obsessed fans bullied a player about two waivers isn’t the best way to conjure up holiday cheer.

Coaches across the country have advocated an earlier signing period, arguing that it would allow high school students to formally make collegiate decisions earlier in high school, especially when potential clients have already made decisions about where to play football next year. level. It was all optics, if even that.

These high schoolers are now making their official decision just six weeks in advance. In the football preparation calendar, those six weeks are meaningless. Both the December signing period and today, the traditional National Signing Day, are well after school seasons have ended.

The truth was that coaches across the country did not want to fulfill their firm commitments at Christmas and New Year, especially during the preparation for the bowl. It was self-serving at best, shortsighted at worst.

First of all, when the December signing period became a reality in 2017, one-off transfers were not yet allowed without losing eligibility for next season. Secondly, no one predicted that the early signing period would lead to the coaching carousel starting earlier and earlier in the season. September layoffs used to be the result of just off-pitch scandals, something you wouldn’t expect from a half-dozen pitches each fall. Athletic directors now want to take advantage of hiring a new coach so that he has time before the start of the December signing period.

Exhibit A: Notre Dame may have ended Marcus Freeman as his head coach following the sudden departure of Brian Kelly after the 2021 season, but had it not been for the main signing date just a few weeks away, Kelly probably wouldn’t have moved to LSU before the college football playoff field was set. a Irish Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick choosing the next head coach would take longer than the 48 hours he spent last December. After all, in 2009, it took Swarbrick 10 days to hire Kelly.

Finally, with a 12-team playoff coming up in 2025, December will be even more hectic.

Those head coaches who wanted a little less stress over the holidays will have to deal in chronological order:

– Maintaining your jobs.
– Providing their recruiting courses in the days immediately preceding Christmas.
– Prepare their teams for bowl games.
– Prepare your teams for four playoff games.
– Re-recruitment of players considering entering the Transfer Portal before the winter window closes.
– Win the bowl game.
— Maintaining their coaching staffs.
Oh, and celebrate the holidays with their families the way they wanted to when they yelled for an early signing date.

Most of these tasks are immutable and inherent in sport.

But you can move. It already happened once.

The logic is too clear. It didn’t work if the original signing date was pushed back six weeks. And my mind was lost.

It’s certainly a sport that chooses to ignore logic, but it’s usually charming. The mustard bottle on the field looks bizarre; the lack of a decent authoritative voice is stubbornly stupid.

So the early signing period may not move as soon as it should (now), but it will. Fortunately, there are no antitrust concerns associated with this.

And beyond logic, cramming more content into December is also costly for the media. Sharing this context in a vacuum from mid-January to mid-March would be much appreciated.

Javonte Jean-Baptiste is not Isaiah Fosky. He also doesn’t Justin Ademilola. Accordingly, his play could be a mixture of two defensive ends that Notre Dame wants to replace.

The Ohio State Graduate Transfer isn’t as big as Fosky or as sturdy as Ademilola, but it brings years of experience to an Irish defensive line otherwise lacking in proven commodities, especially proven defensive moves. He can start with the Viper, where Fosky set Notre Dame records of his career, or the “Big” end, where Ademilola split time with a part-time defensive tackle. Riley Mills. Jean-Baptiste has both the range (6’5″ height) required from the Viper end, and the pass-rush ability (highlighted by his flexibility) required from the “Big” end.

This broad opportunity could be part of what Drew Jean-Baptist in South Bend. He considered declaring himself in the NFL after five seasons at Ohio State, which included four years of part-time work, but part-time jobs don’t produce the sort of statistics that would normally draw the attention of the NFL.

“It was just a long evaluation with my family and thinking about what would really be the best step for me and the path I want to take in my future,” Jean-Baptiste said earlier this month, adding that his decision was taken by Notre Dame, Mississippi and Texas. Of the three, clearly only one is in the Midwest, with Jean-Baptiste not only hailing from Ohio, but originally a product of New Jersey, not to mention a multi-playoff program.

The Irish are also the only program of the three to boast multiple coaches already familiar to Jean-Baptiste. Defensive line coach Al Washington used to coach linebackers for the Buckeyes, and alumnus defensive line assistant Nick Sebastian came with the Washingtons from Columbus a year ago. Jean-Baptiste may not have been in Washington’s positional group at Ohio State except for one game, but he still knew him well. Obviously defensive sevens have to work together.

“Introducing Coach Wash and even Coach [Sebastian] did a lot for me,” said Jean-Baptiste. “I’ve been with them for three years, just knowing them and how they treat their players and their guys, seeing them in action, let me play for them.”

Whatever the reason he ended up in South Bend, Notre Dame needs Jean-Baptiste. Not to replace Fosca or Ademilola, but perhaps to be a bit of both.

The loss of the first three defensive players this winter for the first time in several years will make this positional group a clear spring question mark.

This hasn’t been a concern in the last few days because the Irish knew they had the All-American Fosky on one end and the Ademilol twins provided enough consistency in the rest of the line to give Notre Dame’s reserves and youth time to grow into their role. . . And it worked.

Maybe Fosca didn’t have a dominant senior season that summer…


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