David Shaw against early signing day

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STANFORD, Calif. -- If the NCAA moves forward with an early signing period in college football, it will be staunchly opposed by Stanford coach David Shaw.

"I might be alone in this, I think it's terrible," Shaw said following the Cardinal's spring practice Saturday. "I think it's terrible. The reason [for an early signing period], in my opinion, is coaches don't like when kids commit and switch late."

Susan Peal, NCAA associate director of operations, said earlier this week that the continued acceleration of recruiting has led the Conference Commissioners Association to consider an earlier date to supplement the long-existing date in February, similar to the structure for basketball and other sports.

Shaw, though, isn't convinced such a change will prevent recruits from switching commitments.

"What's going to happen is, if a kid wants to change his mind late after the early signing period, he's going to appeal and that appeal is going to go through because the committees that decide those appeals, they always give in towards the student-athlete," Shaw said.

"So you have a kid that might be 16 going on 17 that commits and then really has a chance to think about it and changes his mind and we're going to try and hold him to it.

"On top of that -- and I'll be honest here, which is rare for a football coach in a setting like this -- but we have a lot of kids that don't know if they're going to get into school until after that early signing day," Shaw said. "So we're going to punish the academic schools just because coaches don't want a kid to switch their commitment?

"People can make whatever argument they want, it boils down to that. ... Coaches don't want to keep recruiting an entire class all year."

Three players in Stanford's most recent recruiting class made verbal pledges to other major programs before their senior years. The trio of offensive linemen -- Casey Tucker (USC), Reilly Gibbons (Miami) and Jesse Burkett (Vanderbilt) -- all settled on the Cardinal in late January or early February.

"This is all driven by Reilly," Shannon Gibbons, Reilly's father, told the Tampa Bay Times in February. "He's a young kid and he's matured during this process and he has a pretty good idea what he wants and how he wants to get there."

Stanford made a point to recognize the process the three players went through with a post on its official football Facebook page on Feb. 19 that, in part, read:

"Stanford remained patient and persistent in our recruiting of these three linemen, and we are thankful that these families kept open minds and lines of communication with us. The full value proposition and opportunities of Stanford came into focus, and each young man delivered the difficult work to gain admission to the University."

The concept of an early signing signing period would create challenges at Stanford that other schools would be immune to due to its strict admissions process. Shaw said that fewer than half of the program's recent 20-man recruiting class was admitted to the university before November, and the final admission didn't occur until the weekend before signing day.

"That's a kid we never would have gotten because someone would have pressured him into forcing him to sign some place because they say, 'You don't know if you're getting into Stanford so you got to sign with us,' " Shaw said. "I don't think these kids should be pressured into decisions, and that's what this is all about."

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