The busy season is getting busier. We are rapidly approaching the first big draft of the offseason this Friday with Stage One of the 2012 Re-Entry Draft.

But that will get talked about more as we get closer. Today we kick off with some news from the Buckeye State. The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that the Columbus Crew’s next target in their offseason plans is to lock up some home grown players. Columbus has already come out and stated their desire to get younger this offseason and signing a few HGPs would certainly do it.

Right now the Crew have four good targets to go after in the college ranks, three of which I have profiled on here before.

The Crew has four candidates to sign as homegrown players: defender Chad Barson and midfielder Wil Trapp from Akron, goalkeeper Justin Luthy from Boston College and defender Matt Wiet from UCLA.

Adam Jardy at the Dispatch got this quote from Crew technical director Brian Bliss about the process of signing this many HGPs.

“Usually, it’s time-sensitive for guys who are seniors because they narrow down the (MLS player) combine list, and if any of those players would happen to be eligible for the combine based on their quality, they want to remove them from participating in the combine,” Bliss said. “I wouldn’t say there is a hard date. It’s usually that by early December the league wants to know what players clubs want to extend offers to.”

My gut tells me they land three of those four with Luthy maybe being the odd duck out. Remember they are pretty set in terms of goalkeepers right now with Andy Gruenebaum taking over the number one spot and fellow HGP keeper Matt Lampson. They could add Luthy for depth which is never a terrible idea and then loan him out to a lower division team.

I love the thought that the Crew could land Trapp, Wiet and Barson though this winter. Three quality players that would have normally gone through the draft before the academy system came up. Trapp is younger and probably needs more time in the college game but with Caleb Porter out in Akron, his move up to the Crew makes more sense.

The Crew aren’t the only team that will be gobbling up some HGPs in the coming weeks. New England will be in discussions with their targets very soon, as will FC Dallas. More to come on this for sure.