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Auburn Football What If? There'd Been An Early Signing Period

It was announced last week that an early signing period in college football won't happen this year. Let's take a look back at some players who might (or might not) have been Tigers if an early signing period already existed.

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone can do serious. You can read a great work on the pros and cons of an early signing period from the folks here at SB Nation here. I don't want to do serious.

So, let's look at a few cases where this might have changed the course of Auburn history. There's a ton of players I can pull from and tons of stories to talk about. I'm not going to be able to remember them all (I hope y'all will help me out in the comments, below), and in fact I'm just going to go back the last few years since I started following recruiting. I know there are much more famous examples in years past.

Understand, this goes against my very nature. I hate counterfactuals. Dealing in "what if this had happened..." is pointless to me, because it didn't happen. But that's more against my nature when it comes to the study of great historical events. This is football. Part of our very enjoyment of football is playing the "What If?" game. Plus it's the off season and we have to have SOMETHING to talk about.

Who Might Not Be Tigers?

Let's start with guys who have been on the team for a few years.

1) Rudy Ford. Ford was headed to Vanderbilt as a running back before he ended up at Auburn. He initially was a running back here, too, before moving to the defensive side of the ball, where he's excelled.

2) Peyton Barber. Barber was also headed elsewhere to be a running back. In his case it was Ole Miss. The Rebels have really needed a runner like Barber over the past few seasons, too. He's in the mix to be the main man this fall.

3) Jonathon Wallace. Wallace was heading to Central Florida to be their quarterback when he was offered by the Tigers. He was offered by Scot Loeffler during his brief stint on the Plains. He actually ended up starting (and doing an admirable job for what he had to work with) during a good bit of that awful 2012 season.

Then there's a good many of this past recruiting class. Darius Slayton would probably be at UGA. Cowart might or might not be a Gator (I don't think the top level recruits will sign early unless they're absolutely certain).

Who Might Be Tigers?

1) TJ Yeldon. Yeldon was committed to the Tigers for a long time, but flipped to the Tide just before the December dead period began. He's another that's iffy, though. The top people aren't likely to sign in an early period unless they're absolutely certain.

2) Reuben Foster. If the early signing period were in August, would Foster have been a Tiger? He seemed all-in with Auburn - even getting an Auburn tattoo - before the 2012 season. I don't think anyone expected the monumental collapse of 2012 and the firing of Gene Chizik and staff, so it would not have shocked me for Foster to be a Tiger had an early signing period been in place.

That's All You Got?

There're other signing day drama situations from the past few seasons I could bring up. These are just some of the flips that come to mind right off hand. There really aren't that many of them.

That's kind of the point I'm eventually getting to. I don't know that an early signing period in college football would really create a lot of drama. I think the drama it would create is different from what we've known in the past and could even be more interesting, though.

The really big name recruits who want to think it all over will wait. They'll especially wait if it appears the coach of one of their target schools is going to get fired. You can argue that the recruits who want to jump on board will do so in order to ensure their spot in a class. Then you wouldn't have as many last second flips. I don't think that's the case either, though. Schools don't have to send those recruits an LOI.

That works both ways, too, and this is where I think a new sort of drama could pop up. Don't want to send a 3* guy an LOI because you're holding out for a possible bigger fish? Maybe that 3* guy goes ahead and signs with another school who DOES send him an LOI. Maybe teams will lose pretty good recruits that they want, but they just really hope they get that 4* or 5*.

I don't think there will be too much of that, though. All it will really do is provide bloggers like me with something else to talk about either in August (when an early period should be) or in December (where they were considering).

Your Most Memorable Flips

I know I'm missing a lot from the past. So in the comments below let's have a discussion on the flips you remember the most. Who do you think we would have snagged if there was an early signing day? Who would we have missed out on?