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Thought on the Early Signing Period

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If you have followed football recruiting in recent months, Wednesday begins three days of the NCAA early signing date for high school football players. The players make their college commitments official beginning tomorrow.

The signing period for high school football for many years has been in early February until April. More specifically, the first Wednesday in February until April 1. Last spring the NCAA adopted a December 20-22 window for signing national letters of intent. However, players can still sign during the later date beginning February 7, 2018.

With the football recruiting process starting earlier and earlier every year, I think this is a good thing. Most of the top players, or high profile players know where they are going anyway. Having them sign letters of intent in December shortens a long, sometimes dirty, sometimes redundant process.

Coaches do not have to spend an additional six weeks blowing smoke to their top recruits. The so-called 4 and 5 star recruits. For the players, they no longer have the additional pressure from other college coaches trying to get them to “flip” their commitments. I really believe this helps the high profiled or “blue chip” commitment.

The non-blue chip, or lower level player now is being helped, as well. Now he knows just how many openings a school has left. He also gets a clearer picture of what a school is looking for. Definitely an advantage to be able to see the big picture.

A problem may develop if a player is just not sure if he wants to commit in December. College coaches could feel that they are still looking around at other schools. Could cause some uncertainty among college coaches. Being a kid’s guy, that is the college coaches worry. Of course, there were always be some who have issues.

As I said earlier, this makes the big picture clearer for mid major level prospects. Since they were not able to land a scholarship at as high a level as they wanted, they will now have time to see what schools still have openings. Now they will get offers after the top prospects were signed.

Another way this early signing helps is that it reduces the stress and nervousness for the edge recruits, the ones that are on the B-list. Now that the schools have binding commitments in December, they can make firmer offers to the kids on the bubble, so to speak. Seems to be more certainty.

Some kids have been recruited by an assistant coach at a university for a long time, maybe, as much as two years or more. They have developed a strong relationship. My concern would be if that assistant coach left for another job, was fired, or was retired. For many prospects, especially the high profile ones, a lot of jobs change in January. The mindset of the recruit could make him cautious.  I know – you commit to the school, not the coach. Get real.

Although I believe that the college coaches get enough breaks in the recruiting process and show their “muscle” enough with the stress and intimidation that they put on recruits, they do benefit from the early signing period. Plus the college coaches would run out of pants, if the slang was true. “Liar, liar pants on fire.” Not lies, but a lot of “BS.” But the players have had some control.

Before, the players could take both official and unofficial visits. They could lead a school on and on and on. Maybe even flip at the last minute. Now colleges will have time for “Plan B,” this happens. Actually some stress off of the college staffOne for the colleges.

The football recruiting media from local newspapers, internet recruiting sites, and ESPN is going to take a hit. Fewer last minute decisions in front of the cameras in February. No choosing hats at the Army All Star games. Of course, December could bring the same silliness, but February will never be the same.

Some of the major players, like O-State, will  no longer be able to get kids to “flip” at the last minute. Some majors say that they need more time to evaluate in state players. Hopefully, the December signing can change some of this thinking. A lot less “flipping” now. The player must be sure.

I have always said that most kids, especially the high profile ones have an idea in the spring of their junior year for what college program they want to play. After attending the college summer football camps, they know for sure. Why wait until February?

The best to those who sign early- December 20 thru December 22. Your parents, girl friend, and teachers will be glad your cell phone time will lessen.

 

 

 

 

 

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