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Paul Johnson on Signing Day: 'I would cut all the (crap) out of it'

Last week, Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini proposed a radical plan that would eliminate National Signing Day altogether, and instead make every scholarship offer a sign-on-the-dotted-line opportunity for the offered student-athlete. In essence, every day would become National Signing Day. Incredibly simple, and it would add a tremendous amount of needed credibility to a scholarship offer.

The FootballScoop staff weighed in on the potential positives and negatives, but we didn't have a lot of on the record thoughts from active coaches on the matter. We do now. Pelini has one big supporter in Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson.

“Personally, with what Bo Pelino came out with, that’s what I’ve been talking about for years,” Johnson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “That’s the way I would do it. You don’t even have a signing date. Once they commit, you give them a scholarship and they sign. You get 25 signees per year, and 85 spots overall. I think they have to be in their senior year of high school (to be able to sign), or maybe complete their junior year."

My original tweak coincides with Johnson's idea - to make every offer immediately committable with an National Letter of Intent signature, but wait until a prospect's senior year or the second semester of his junior year. 

But, then again, you could essentially be creating a second signing day at that point, and it's earlier than the one we have now. 

“It would cut all the (crap) out of it. All those people who think they have offers would find out that they really don’t have offers. You know, if somebody walked in your school and said ‘You have an offer,’ the kid could say ‘OK, where is it? I’m ready to sign it.’ This would stop all this foolishness," Johnson continued.

“And it would work the same way with the kids saying ‘Yeah, coach, I’m committed.’ The college says ‘OK, here’s your scholarship. Sign it.’ The kid says ‘Well, I don’t want to sign right now.’ Well then that kid is not committed. If a kid didn’t want to sign, they wouldn’t sign. And if he did sign, it’s binding. It would stop all this ‘He’s a soft commit.’ It’s not a commit, it’s a reservation.’"

The every-day-is-signing-day idea has some potential faults and would lead to unintended consequences that can't be foreseen right now, but it's the best idea on the table right now.