High School Football

North Texas coaches mixed on early signing period for football

High school football recruits appear headed for a December signing period this year, and area coaches are mixed over the idea.

Some favor the plan to have a Dec. 20-22, 2017 signing period for the 2018 seniors.

“I think it’s a good deal,” Arlington Bowie coach Danny DeArman said. “I don’t know if it affects play in December with your own team. The ones we’re talking about are already set in stone with solid commitments so I don’t think it’s a big deal.”

Others are vehemently opposed to the plan.

“It’s not good for the kids and not good for college football,” Colleyville Heritage coach Joe Willis said. “It’s a distraction, especially the two weeks leading up to signing day. I always go back to the rule ‘What’s best for the kids?’ and this isn’t best for kids.”

The NCAA Division I Council is expected in June to add the Dec. 20-22 signing period for football, and allow official college visits to begin April 1 for high school juniors.

“I think it will help kids get their future lined up earlier,” Euless Trinity coach Chris Jensen said. “Some of our kids spend too much of their spring uncertain until colleges get all of their scholarships assigned.”

College football’s National Signing Day has traditionally been in early February. Previously, no player could take an official visit — one funded by the school — until Sept. 1 of their senior year.

Aledo football coach Steve Wood said he had not given the proposed changes much thought.

“I suppose those guys who absolutely know where they want to go can go ahead and get it out of the way before the holidays, if the college chooses to do so,” Wood added. “It will change the way some of the colleges have to evaluate and recruit.”

The Aledo Bearcats won the UIL Class 5A Division II title last December, and played the championship game Dec. 16, 2016.

“I don’t really see where the December signing helps high school coaches or players,” Aledo athletic director Tim Buchanan said.

The UIL 2017 football championships are Dec. 20-23 at AT&T Stadium.

“I hope they go back and review that — get away from signing in December,” Willis said. “It’s identical to the draft grades coming out prior to the bowl games, and that’s why so many players don’t play in the bowls.”

Judy Wiley, the mother of Aledo four-star recruit Chuck Filiaga, strongly favors the April 1 school visits plan.

“He didn’t take his last visit. It was tough,” Judy Wiley said. “It was finish a game, leave at 5 a.m. for a 7 a.m. flight. That was the focus. No football coach wants you running all over creation on the weekend when you’re playing for a championship.”

Official visits for juniors would end in June and cannot be part of the recruit’s attending a football camp at the college.

“I like it,” said Kennedale football coach Richard Barrett said. Now “it’s very time consuming.”

Staff writer Brian Gosset contributed to this report.

NCAA 2017-18 signing periods




Basketball (Early Period)

Nov 8-15, 2017

Basketball (Regular Period)

April 11, 2018

Football (Midyear JC Transfer)

Dec. 20, 2017-Jan. 15, 2018

Football (Regular Period)

Feb. 7-April 1, 2018

Soccer and Men's Water Polo

Feb. 7-Aug. 1, 2018

All Other Sports (Early Period)

Nov 8-15, 2017

All Other Sports (Regular Period)

April 11-Aug. 1, 2018

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