While verbal commitments are definitely not binding, college football coaches hate to lose a player or two on national signing day. Ex-Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez aggravated then-Purdue Coach Joe Tiller when Michigan “poached” Roy Roundtree away from Purdue.
New Buckeye coach Urban Meyer had Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema upset when Ohio State “stole” lineman Kyle Dodson away from the Badgers.
Even Michigan coach Brady Hoke is guilty. Hoke managed to flip Dennis Norfleet away from Cincinnati to complete the 2012 class.
Some coaches claim there's a “gentleman's agreement” to prevent this type of chicanery, but in reality it doesn't exist.
“As far as I've known, it's always been fair game until they sign,” Hoke told WBNS-TV10 in Columbus. “I don't have as much a problem with that. Hopefully we don't get too many of those who go away from you.”
Over the years, there has been considerable chatter about a solution to this so-called problem, perhaps an early signing period, like basketball.
“The American Football Coaches Association made a proposal to conference commissioners about three years ago for an early signing period,” reported Tom D'Angelo of the Palm Beach Post.
But getting all the commissioners to agree would be a tall order.
The only real solution is to have a solid program which consistently wins games, stays out of trouble and has a solid recruiting footprint.
There's no question Hoke has already built that style of program at Michigan. For example, Ohio State recently contacted Logan Tuley-Tillman, a 2013 commit.
Tillman showed his allegiance to Michigan by burning the letter.
Let's not forget about the newfound camaraderie. It starts with 2013 commit Shane Morris, the 5-star quarterback from Warren De La Salle.
When he's not impressing the national recruiting gurus with his play, he's been acting as a recruiter's liaison among his peers. He's been selling the program to the last few potential commits, in addition to building relationships throughout the 2013 class.
So is Michigan in danger of losing a player or two on national signing day next February? Not if Tillman or Morris have anything to do with it.