Coaches and athletes have asked for it to happen over the years, and finally, the early National Signing Day has arrived.
No longer will that first Wednesday in February be the definitive time to sign on the dotted line for those high school football players looking to move on to the next level.
The college football recruiting calendar is changing. A new early signing period will allow prospects to shut down their recruitments well before the traditional signing date, the first Wednesday of February, which falls on Feb. 7 for this cycle. From Dec. 20-22, recruits can ink National Letters of Intent and officially join their programs of choice. Although some top prospects won't take advantage of the new period, those 72 hours definitely won't pass without major recruiting news.
With just two days to go until players start putting pen to paper, there are schools locally who have a chance to lock these prospects down without worrying about what usually goes on in January.
Charles Fishbein of Elite Scouting Services believes that unless a school is waiting on a test score, the top prospects will all sign during this first period.
"If you have a kid that has been showing interest for a long time, then singing early should not be an issue," Fishbein said. "Also, you have to consider that there are a number of new coaches at high profile schools that are just starting in the process – so maybe looking toward the February 7th National Signing is an option – if they are working on one player or another."
Locally, Miami, FIU and FAU will look to bring in many – if not all of their commits on Wednesday. The early signing period is also a time when colleges will find out how loyal many are – and give themselves another six weeks to fill de-commits.
"It happens every year, but the early National Signing Day could give head football coaches across the country a restful winter," Dana Wiley of Prep Films explained. "Miami had a number of prospects in this past weekend, so I am sure they urged them – as well as others – to make their decisions."
Butch Davis (FIU) and Lane Kiffin (FAU) will also be taking full advantage of this early period with some quality athletes already strong commitments.
Miami Central receiver Terrell Perriman was blown away when he visited the University of Utah. Besides having a number of key South Florida performers on the Ute's roster, it is a program that fits the Miami Central standout. Playing in the Battle North vs. South, Perriman was happy about the upcoming period. In fact, he has been solid for a while now.
"I cannot wait until Wednesday," he said. "I have been waiting to get this done. This early period is all good."
EARLY SIGNING HELPS OTHER PROSPECTS
As Power 5 conference teams begin to fill their respective rosters and other FBS schools come in and get those early signees, it will open to door for some of the other local prospects as well.
FCS programs – which always head south – will now understand where they sit with some athletes way before Feb. 7.
"A huge boost for an area like this – especially because we have so many football prospects," Wiley explained. "I think the early singing day is here to stay – sort of like a yearly Christmas present."
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