Brown embraces new signing period

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Troy Trojans had 14 recruits sign National Letters of Intent last week during the newly formed early signing period.

The signing period started on Wednesday with the Trojans signing all 14 of their recruits. The signing period ended on Friday.

For years, college teams and their fans had to wait until February’s National Signing Day to see where the future stars will land. For Troy head coach Neal Brown, the addition was a welcome sight.

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“Signing day in December rather than in February… I kind of like the change of pace,” Brown said. “We are looking to bring guys that love football that are searching for two things: they are wanting a degree and they want the ability to paly at the next level. I think we did that and accomplished that goal.”

Even though Brown liked the early period, it still came with its challenges. The early period meant earlier preparations by himself and his staff. The early bowl game didn’t help matters much either.

“The three weeks of contact period that we just experienced were really busy,” Brown said. “We played on championship week against Arkansas State. That was the first week of contact week. We are getting ready for a championship game and we have some coaches that left on Wednesday and some coaches left on Thursday. Almost every coach other than coach Vic (Koenning) were out on the road on that Friday before we played Arkansas State.”

Once the regular season concluded, the Trojans had just one more week remaining in the contact period. The Trojans were forced to juggle signing day with bowl preparations and finals.

“It was really busy,” Brown said. “Now that everybody has signed, we feel like we accomplished about what we thought we would accomplish in this early signing period.”

The early signing period was an experiment for every team around the country. For coach Brown, it was all about finding your method.

“Every staff is going about it in a different manner,” Brown said. “I have been asked about the early signing period a bunch. The old model wasn’t working. I think it was a model that basically updated 20 years ago or more. In that time the way we communicate, how the recruiting process starts, how you watch film on recruits, how you go about visiting high school campuses, all those things have changed so much and the rules haven’t.

“College coaches and males in general really don’t like change so I think any time changes are made they are going to be met with resistance. I think the early signing day was something that was needed. Is December the best time? I’m not sure.”

When time ran out on Friday the Trojans concluded the early signing period with offensive lineman Jake Andrews, offensive lineman Gerald Bell, offensive lineman Grant Betts, safety Jacquez Dunmore, cornerback Levon Fletcher, offensive lineman Hamilton Hawthorne, defensive end Jarvis Hayes, defensive end John Hines, running back Kevin Perkins, defensive tackle AJ Pierce, linebacker KJ Robertson, defensive tackle Travis Sailo, Bandit Antonio Showers and quarterback Gunnar Watson.

At the end of the day, there were no surprises for the Trojans.

“We really didn’t have any surprises,” Brown said. “These guys that signed have all been committed for a long time.”

The Trojans will have another opportunity to sign more players in February and coach Brown believes the class will go up to 21 signees by the time it’s finished.