To sign during the early signing period, or not to sign? That is precisely the question football recruits from all over the country are debating this week.
For some the answer is simple: Sign anytime between Wednesday and Friday, thus ending the recruiting process. Others are still undecided.
“I just don’t want to commit too soon,” Euless Trinity defensive end Izaih Filikitonga said. “I want to see where my options are after this week.”
Filikitonga is among several whose teams advanced deep into the postseason (four rounds). He said he is considering TCU, Utah, Oklahoma State and Washington State, but has yet to visit any.
A new NCAA rule allows high school players to sign early, such as Grapevine quarterback Alan Bowman.
Instead, most are choosing to wait until the traditional National Signing Day, which this time is Feb. 7, 2018.
“I feel like I’ll get bigger and better schools after everything plays out this week,” Colleyville Heritage wide receiver Ke’von Ahmad said. “Coaches and players don’t know how this thing is going to play out, and I just want to see before I make anything official.”
Ahmad has visited Florida Atlantic and Boise State, and is interested in Illinois, San Diego and California.
The new early signing period is the same days as the usual December days for junior college players. It primarily benefits recruits who are certain they want to play for a program, and coaches who don’t want to monitor those commits into February for fear that they’ll flip to a different program.
Some experts are predicting schools will sign more than 80 percent of their recruits in December. But some players are thinking it might actually help their chances of landing the school of their choice if they wait.
Southlake Carroll offensive lineman Matthew Leehan also played 14 games and is considering Air Force, Georgetown, Colgate, Colorado School of Mines and some Ivy League schools.
“I want to take visits to schools who offered me during the season,” he said. “I want to see what schools are looking for my position after early signing.”
Coaching changes can play a factor in when a player signs, and where. For example, Kevin Sumlin has been replaced by Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M and Chip Kelly has taken over at UCLA for the fired Jim Mora.
“A lot of coaches are leaving schools. That’s going to change the landscape,” Ahmad said.
Safety Cam’ron Jones of Mansfield took a visit to Nebraska this past weekend after backing out of his commitment to UCLA.
Richland linebacker DaShaun White hasn’t rescinded his commitment to Texas A&M, but said he is uncertain if he will sign early or wait now. He took a visit to the campus this past weekend and met again with Fisher, who he said also paid him an in-home visit.
“It kind of stinks that coach Sumlin is gone, but I think they replaced him with a good coach,” said White, who has also visited Texas and Oklahoma. “But I’m still sorting everything out.”
Trinity recruiting coordinator/assistant coach Moses Vakalahi said players are taking a gamble when they wait, a gamble he doesn’t recommend.
“I’ve seen it happen where a coach calls a kid and tells them they no longer have that spot, so I recommend they sign early if they can, solidify their college career,” he said.
Arlington Martin coach Bob Wager suggests players wait if they are unsure.
“If a guy’s not certain, don’t let the pressure of the early signing day force you into signing,” he said. “Also, that gives me another month and a half to sell you to college coaches.”