National Signing Day is just two months away — a day of celebration and rejoice of all the hard work high school football players put in.
But for the first time, seniors will be free to sign their National Letter of Intent during an early window that begins Dec. 20 and runs 72 hours.
Area athletes can make it official next week, but it’s still unclear how many prospects will opt to use the early period while others will elect to wait until the traditional signing date on Feb. 7.
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“One advantage of early signing day for someone like me is that it gives an opportunity to graduate early,” said Russell, who’s committed to Alcorn State. “Another advantage is if you found the right school and sign early then the school can’t pull the scholarship if they find someone else.”
Bowman is signing with Texas Tech and is eager to begin the next phase of his football career.
“It’s pretty good for colleges because it confirms commits, and it’s kind of another big day in recruiting,” Bowman adds.
Others signing early are:
▪ Fort Worth All Saints receiver Jaylon Robinson (Oklahoma)
▪ Fort Worth Eastern Hills linebacker Byron Hobbs (Texas)
▪ Arlington Martin defensive end Spencer Trussell (Kansas State)
▪ Mansfield Timberview receiver Jalen Knox (Missouri)
▪ Mansfield Timberview offensive lineman Noel Ofori-Nyadu (Connecticut)
▪ Keller Fossil Ridge defensive end Arnold Saidov (New Mexico State)
▪ North Crowley receiver Julian Ortega-Jones (Louisiana-Monroe)
Others see flaws with the new signing period.
“If you ask me this creates more confusion and projection in a world that already has parents and kids making business decisions instead of well-informed ones,” Colleyville Heritage coach Joe Willis said. “It’s too much for 18-year-old players to handle in that time frame, but the rule wasn’t made with their interest in mind.”
Willis recommends that any recruit shouldn’t hold off on signing day longer than they need to. Willis speculates there could be some shuffling around at the end of next week.
“January will provide some opportunities to be recruited by non-Power Five, Division I-AA and Division II schools,” he said. “Most of the big schools will be signed up so hesitate at your own risk.”
The early signing period also allows college coaches to scratch one more thing off their list.
“The biggest advantage the early signing period gives a college is that they know whoever signs a letter of intent is going to be there,” said Jason Howell, senior recruiting analyst for TexAgs.com. “They know those guys aren’t going to take any other visits and it’s one less worry for them. It also allows them to focus on those who haven’t signed for one reason or another.”
Sign now or sign later? Either way, the recruiting game/process is always filled with intrigue.
“I think it’s a good deal for colleges to get longtime commits locked up and not have to babysit them, for lack of a better term, until February,” said Brian Perroni, A&M Recruiting Insider for 247Sports.