Here are head coach Mike Gundy's comments from his Wednesday news conference on the early signing period. The Cowboys signed 23 players on Wednesday, headlined by quarterback Spencer Sanders, receiver C.J. Moore and defensive back Sean Michael Flanagan.
On the early signing period:
"The early signing period is the best thing that has ever happened to college football. It's going to create and improve the quality and parody in the game. We're seeing more and more of it as I have mentioned for three or four years now. I said it in August, if you looked at the Big 12 Conference you will see it again and the early signing period is going to balance out college football, Power Five conference schools, over a period of three or four years. We are really excited about it. What that does is forces us, in our opinion, to do our job; to go out, to evaluate, to get to know the young men, found out everything, get all the information we can about them, make a decision on them and move forward. I think that's great for college football."
On how the early signing period changes things for him mentally:
"Well we get the poachers. The ones that come after us that get into the latter part of December and or January. I know you were speaking in reference to the bowl, but for me it's a break. It's over with. We may pick up one or two if we come up short in an area. We have six more weeks to go out and do our job and find another one. There are young men out there that have been overlooked. Recruiting is certainly not a perfect science. The NFL spends millions and millions and millions of dollars and they still fail, and we do the same thing. This allows us to say, 'OK, we got a number here, maybe another number,' but for the most part we don't have to continue to pull along young men that have been recruited to our program for months and months and months. Let's get them signed up. Let's move on down the road and get rid of all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes. It's going to help clean this game up, in my opinion."
On others' complaints about the early signing period:
"If you just look at what's out there - and I don't really look at what everybody else is saying - but the main point is just to do your job. Don't ride the wave through the middle of January when you're trying to hang on to four and five-star kids and then you miss out and drop back to a list where schools have done their job to the best of their knowledge. Then they yank kids away. We had a couple of poachers hit us last night, but they failed. Traditional poachers that failed last night because of the early signing period. The only reason they're doing it is because they went after something else and they didn't get it so they're going to look at our list and say, 'He's a pretty good prospect. Those guys bring guys in and develop them within the program and the culture and they have success.' The reason some people don't want it is because they want to poach later in the recruiting process. What that does is cause cheating and bad feelings among other people. This signing day has forced us to do our job. Is it strenuous? Sure it is. You finish up the season and then have recruiting visits, home visits and school visits. You should've invested in a helicopter. That's what I would do. Don't tell me about the problems and just give me a solution. We're all in bowl games. Ours is the 28th and others don't have to play until January, so they have more time than we do. We had finals week in the middle of December this year, so we don't get to practice for those five days. That didn't fit our schedule either, so we could either complain about it or find a solution to it. We found a solution to it and we love our class. The best thing they've done is put in this early signing period, and the people saying it's not is because they want to poach other schools. I think this is awesome because now you say, 'These guys are going to fit our culture and they can help us win a Big 12 championship. Let's go get them signed and let's roll.' It's better for everybody."
On Spencer Sanders making sure to send in his letter first:
"I got second-hand information. I have not talked to him this morning, but he said it's hard to lead when you're in the back."
On Spencer Sanders:
"I think he's a special player. He's been raised the right way. He's got a good mommy and daddy at home, which generally is a good indication they will be quality young men who fit our culture … He's a winner. I love that he is labeled as a dual-threat quarterback. He is a pocket passer that can run, and so were excited about him being a part of our program. He's been very loyal from start to finish and had a lot of opportunities to not be loyal. I will say this, the coaching staff at Denton Ryan was as upfront, honest and strong as any as I've seen in doing things the right way. The young man said he wanted to come to school here. There's other people coming in over the last month, trust me. They said until he says he wants to look at another school, then we are going to do the best we can and hold you off and do what's right. They were tremendous. They know what's going on. They handled it the right way."
On his advice to Sanders:
"Enjoy his high school career and to be around his friends. Once he picks football back up, he will be fine. He doesn't need to throw a football for a couple of months. He needs to rest in my opinion and just enjoy his career. Everything will get started eventually. It will move really fast, but he will be fine. He just needs to continue on with what he has done."
On the offensive line signees:
"We got three of them from the state, which we love in-state players. We signed seven in-state players. We got quality young men. They are big. They are long. The one young man we signed from Houston, we think he's going to be a tremendous center for us. He's 6'3 and he's going to be about 300 pounds and has great feet. The other guys are long and rangy. It's what you need in a class. You need about four to five of those big guys. Put them in the culture, let Rob Glass handle them for a couple of years, change their bodies and then they will be ready to play after they've been in the program for a couple of years."
On Hunter Anthony:
"He's got an older brother that was at Tuttle that went to North Texas. He was injured, but now he is coming back and he's really gotten big. So we're really expecting his body to develop over the next 24 months. He stayed with us all along. Just a typical kid that's going to be completely different in two years."
On Tyrese Williams and Bryce Bray:
"We feel good about them. We think they will develop. Again, you can't ask a whole lot of them the first two years. Sometimes they can be a little more of an impact after the first year, but it's pretty rare. When you take a number of guys that are averaging about 305 pounds across the front, you figure in two years they would average 320. It will be nice to build that back up. Quite honestly, with this class, this is the first time we have gotten our numbers back in the offensive line in about six years. It's difficult, but we finally built that back up."
On C.J. Moore and other incoming skill players:
"Moore will have more of an opportunity to get on the field than a big guy. The skill players, we stress to them to come in ready to play. ... Hard to tell, but there has never been a skilled position that we have said, 'Don't get ready to play.' We would prefer to play them. We need numbers with the offense we have. Six to eight receivers, two or three Cowboy Backs and three running backs. So hopefully we will have an impact from some of those freshmen and Moore could very well be one of those guys."