Quinn's Corner: Recruiting and red shirts

Just a few things that could be changing
Quinn's Corner: Recruiting and red shirts
Posted at 9:14 AM, May 10, 2017

It feels like college football is in a rules adjustment cycle at the moment. Whether it be recruiting reform, pace of play discussions, or any number of other hot topics, those that oversee the game are in the mood to make changes. 

One such group, the American Football Coaches Association, has forwarded a very intriguing rules proposal to the NCAA for its consideration. The proposed rule would allow players to participate in up to four games in a season, and still maintain their red shirt status. 

I'd vote to implement this one today if I could. 

The most obvious advantage would be restoring some meaning to run-of-the-mill bowl games by allowing red shirt freshman players to participate. Think of the increased interest for Nebraska a year ago if Patrick O'Brien could have played in the Music City Bowl. 

Speaking of O'Brien, the rule would also allow for some team injury protection without having to burn a year of eligibility for a player. There's no doubt in my mind O'Brien would have started for Nebraska against Iowa had this rule been in place. Instead, the Huskers limped into the Heroes Game with an injured Tommy Armstrong Jr. to protect O'Brien's future. 

The correct move, but one that wouldn't have been necessary. 

Plus, imagine how interesting the quarterback battle would be for Nebraska if O'Brien had two starts under his belt. 

I know old school football fans still think bowl games have meaning, especially for "the seniors," and that may be true at places like Nebraska. The fact is, there are plenty of places where that simply isn't the case. 

We saw a handful of players skip bowl games entirely this year, and that trend won't stop. It's time to let the game evolve, and this is a good potential solution. 

It works well for the fans, the players, and the teams. I can't see the downside. 


Speaking of changing things up in college football, the December signing period became official on Monday. 

On his tour of the state, Mike Riley was quick to point out that if there were an even earlier signing period, say in July, the Huskers' class would likely be signed, sealed, and delivered by the time fall camp opens. 

Again, I fail to see the downside of letting kids sign early. 

In fact, forget a "signing period." It's old. It's tired. Before social media, it used to be a big deal to find out who would be signing to play for NU or any other school. Anymore, this news travels a million miles a minute. 

I'd propose allowing athletes to sign starting anytime the summer after their junior year. Once the player has made up his mind, let him put pen to paper. 

It would make their "commitment," into an actual commitment, as opposed a verbal pledge, which to many 17-year olds doesn't mean much. 

Coaches wouldn't have to worry about other programs (ahem..Alabama) swooping in and cherry picking recruits out of their classes. The players wouldn't have to deal with a million phone calls and texts after their mind has already been made up. 

It's a win-win. 


I found this article from SI's Michael McCann quite helpful in understanding the impact of Aaron Hernandez's vacated murder conviction. 


I'm relieved to hear the fight is far from over, yet still disappointed with who gets hurt the most in all of this - the families of Hernandez's victims. 

I'm no legislator, but I'd think this is something Massachusetts may want to consider changing down the road, as some states already have. 


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