The important role assistant coaches play on the college football recruiting trail can’t be understated, but one former player turned analyst, Greg McElroy, seems to believe that tough times are on the horizon for many assistants across America.

Specifically, McElroy thinks the new early signing period, which takes place from December 20th through December 22nd this year, will end up being a curse for many assistant coaches, though ironically it could end up being a blessing for their teams.

Here’s McElroy, who was speaking on ESPNU Radio. SEC Country transcribed his feelings:

There are some unintended consequences that are about to happen here in the next nine days,” McElroy said. “I can’t take credit for this take. This take is directly from assistant coaches who are currently on the road recruiting– several of which I’ve had the chance to talk to and some of which I’ve talked to in the last couple of days. And they are very concerned.

“Guys, for assistant coaches and position coaches in particular — a very dark day is coming on Dec. 21. Either Dec. 21 or the head coach says ‘You know what, I can’t do it before Christmas. I’m going to do it on Dec. 26.’ There are going to be a lot– maybe a record number– of assistant coaches that are either let go or they leave the program that they are currently recruiting to. Assistant coaches, that is, because they’re going to get guys to sign on the dotted line Dec. 20 and then on Dec. 21 the head coach is going to say ‘Hey, by the way, thank you for what you’ve done but you’re no longer needed here.’

For what it’s worth, this fear is steeped in a heavy dose of reality for many assistant coaches. The head coaches get a ton of the credit on the recruiting trail and often-times they are the “closers”, but it’s the assistants, and particularly the position coaches, who spend effort, time and energy into creating lasting relationships with recruits. After all, players spend the most time with their position coaches once they’re at school, so it makes sense that the relationship is valuable.

In that light, what McElroy is predicting here is pretty shady. These assistants and recruits get to know each other and develop a good relationship, and as soon as the player signs his life away to the school the assistant is let go.

Of course, this probably won’t be the crisis McElroy is expecting it to be, but will it happen in a few high profile cases?

It wouldn’t be surprising, and that’s a shame.

ESPN analyst Greg McElroy has a dark prediction for college football’s first early signing period @SECNetwork/Twitter
Andrew has been a sports writer since 2010, featured on Bleacher Report, 247Sports, Fansided and elsewhere. His work has also been seen on MSN, Forbes and in the LA Times. Andrew coached high school football for five years and writes about football, and just about anything, for Fanbuzz.
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