Some SEC coaches are all riled up when it comes to the SEC's oversigning rule. Coaches have talked about how it has a negative affect on roster management and can hurt the recruiting process for staffs the closer teams get to national signing day.
Well, new SEC member, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, also had to change his strategy in order to adapt to the conference's new rule of signing just 25 prospects per class. Sumlin not only had to come in and try to keep a foreign class together but he had to make sure he was getting the right personnel and not just signing to fill space -- crucial space.
"What we didn't want to do was just sign a bunch of guys to fill up that roster," Sumlin said. "We wanted to sign a quality class and then be able to evaluate where we were at the end of spring football going into next year and see where our holes need to be filled."
Sumlin was able to keep 11 previous commitments and signed eight more. He closed well, signing the No. 15 class, according to ESPN recruiting services. He didn't really come close to hitting 25, but he was never sure if he would after he and his staff had very detailed conversations back in January about how to finish the 2012 class. Extremely careful evaluation was made of committed and uncommitted prospects, as the coaches determined who would be the right fits for Sumlin's first class as Aggies head coach.
It's not like Sumlin was paranoid about the new rule, but he wanted to make sure he didn't overstep his boundaries in his first class. However, he admitted that he was probably a little too careful.
"Looking back on it now, we probably could have signed a couple guys and took some chances, but we felt like we had to be pretty clear with where we are with this thing, particularly with this first class," he said.
Still, Sumlin was very excited about the first class he signed as Texas A&M's coach, but his best recruiting job came before signing day was even on his radar. Before he could concentrate on high school prospects, Sumlin said he had to recruit three of Texas A&M's current players -- wide receiver Ryan Swope, running back Christine Michael and linebacker Sean Porter -- who flirted with this year's NFL draft.
Swope was Texas A&M's leading receiver last year, Michael just barely missed 900 rushing yards and Porter was third on the team in tackles. So, these players were pretty important to Sumlin's first Aggies roster.
Fortunately for Sumlin, he and his staff succeeded in their recruitment of the trio, giving Sumlin a strong veteran foundation to work with in his first year in College Station.
"Those were the first three guys I had to recruit," he said.
"You would say those three guys are pretty damn important. Those guys are as important as those guys we signed."