Niyo: Early signing period adds dash of intrigue

  • Niyo: Early signing period adds dash of intrigue

Niyo: Early signing period adds dash of intrigue

Like the College Football Playoff, the early signing period is brand new and full of questions we simply can not answer until we see how this all plays out in real time. If they choose not to sign during that period they'll have to wait to sign until National Signing Day in February. But at least until Wednesday, when college football's first early-signing period promises a significant show of hands, the truth is everyone's bluffing.

One local senior who was determined to secure his college spot by Wednesday is Devin Hayes, who put himself in a bit of a predicament when he chose to reopen the recruiting process after spending six months committed to NC State.

For decades, college football fans and participants have been used to one major National Signing Day in early February.

Starting on the morning of December 20, college prospects will have the opportunity to sign their National Letters of Intent and fax (yes, in 2017 they are still using fax machines) them into their new coach's office.

And, on a few occasions, it can become a day when a recruit handles his first time in the national spotlight with all the dignity of a Kardashian.

Many coaches stumped to get an early signing period on the recruiting calendar, although they may have preferred if the dates were placed in a different part of the calendar.

"We've had some guys communicate with us that they're going to sign in February, but they did that very early on and we knew that", Dudek said, referencing prospects who haven't yet taken their official visit to Michigan's campus.

"Yeah, just so I can get started and get it out of the way", Hayes said.

Teams are preparing for bowl games and playoffs, coaches are still getting hired and fired, other jobs haven't even been filled yet. The high profile recruits who have been committed for a long time - such as Orange City University High running back Lorenzo Lingard, who is committed to Miami, or Orlando Jones cornerback Sevyn Banks, who is committed to Ohio State - will sign early, but their scholarship offers likely still would be honored if they didn't. Previously, official visits were only allowed during a recruit's senior year. But many FCS programs will begin their Class of 2018 signings this week. "And other schools were giving conflict with [signing early]". We won't know for a few weeks just how many prospects decide to take advantage of the early signing period.

For a handful of coaches, it makes their January a little easier and more focused on filling remaining spots on the roster. And with an NCAA rule change allowing FBS programs to hire a 10th on-field assistant coach, effective January 9, "that's going to start a whole other set of dominoes on the hiring front", Dudek agreed.

The early signing period does not replace the normal signing period. Doing it in August or September would mean recruits signing before their senior years, before either side is ready to commit, in some cases. "There's going to be a lot of (coaching) moves made in college football after December 20". With some big name programs making changes to their coaching staffs, programs like Tennessee and Florida State have seen several decommitments due to the uncertainty. The belief is that most verbally committed prospects will receive a letter of intent to sign.