June 2, 2009
STARKVILLE -- One of the main points of emphasis at the Southeastern Conference Meetings in Destin, Fla., this past week pertained to football recruiting and the desire for a more even playing field for all 12 schools.
The SEC presidents took an action that will move toward that goal.
Beginning with next year''s signing class, SEC programs can only sign a total of 28 players. The coaches wanted the cap at 30, but the presidents got their way at 28.
Mississippi State director of recruiting operations Reed Stringer expects the move to impact recruiting in the SEC, but will be felt by some teams more than others.
Three years ago, Mississippi State signed 32 players, but last year signed 27, which is one under the new limit.
"It''s different every year depending on what the academic situation is in the state of Mississippi," Stringer said. "Over the last couple of years, it has drastically improved and keeps improving. The kids, teachers, counselors and coaches are really making it a point to make sure they are getting the grades they need so they can get in school which is really helping us."
Stringer likes the new rule because it keeps programs from going crazy by over-signing players.
Ole Miss signed 37 players in February, while Arkansas signed 32.
With a cap at 28, programs that recruit nationally may lose out on some bluechippers.
"You might have five kids, because of the media, who want to pick up a hat that day and say they are going to choose a particular school," Stringer said. "If you are (a team) in the running for all five of those kids and you are at 25 scholarships, what''s going to happen if all five pick your school? That''s one thing that can end up happening."
Even though it may cause coaches some stress at the end of signing day, Stringer believes it can also save a headache or two about exactly what to do when teams sign too many prospects.
With that, there could be problems when an incoming player quallifies expectedly and has to be told to grayshirt or be given other options within the program.
Stringer believes the good outweighs the bad when handling those situations.
"I think it will be good for us and the kids in the long run," Stringer said.
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