Will Muschamp did something he’s not very proud of Wednesday.
“I carried a cell phone on the field for the first time in my coaching career,” South Carolina’s head coach explained. “I was disappointed I did that, but I was afraid I’d miss a phone call if I didn’t.”
That was necessitated by the new early signing period, which started Wednesday and runs through Friday. The Gamecocks signed 20 new players, 80 percent of the eventual 25 who will make up their Class of 2018, Wednesday. It is the first time in the modern era the NCAA has allowed football players to sign with teams before the first Wednesday in February, and the calendar change forced a lot of scrambling around college football.
For instance, Wednesday was the first time Muschamp or almost any other college coach has had to worry about having a practice on a signing day. Hence, the cell phone.
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“You had to adjust a lot,” Muschamp said.
Muschamp also made more home visits to recruits in the month of December than he ever has. Those trips usually came after the end of the season and closer to the February signing date. This year, Muschamp and his staff had to balance getting ready to play Michigan in the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl with the furious final stretches of the recruiting process with the 20 players they signed.
“We spent a lot of time talking about this early signing period as a staff and I think we managed it pretty well,” he said. “We had more visits during the season than we normally do.”
After his first taste of the new system, Muschamp described himself as “down the middle” on the change.
“Whatever they want to do is fine,” he said. “I don’t waste time giving them my opinion because it doesn’t matter.”