Ever since he set foot in Tucson, Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez has wondered aloud why there’s no early signing period in college football.
Well, he won’t have to wait anymore.
Starting this December, football recruits will have a 72-hour window to sign with their college of choice if they so desire. In 2017, the period will start December 20th and close December 22nd.
Recruits don’t have to sign during this time. They still have the ability to wait until the first Wednesday of February which is the traditional National Signing Day. That period always goes until April 1st.
This season will not be telling of how many players will use this to their advantage because the official visit period will not be moved up until 2018. Right now, the official visit period starts at the beginning of a player’s senior year in high school. That start date is expected to be moved up to April to accommodate the new early signing window.
There’s several ways that this will likely impact recruiting and how fans follow it in the coming years. The biggest thing is spreading out the drama of Signing Day into two separate entities, which will make it either better or worse depending on your outlook. Better in the fact that not so much will happen in one day, but worse in the way that now there is a whole new three day window for those hat ceremonies in high school cafegymatoriums.
Basketball already has this and it seems to work fine, so football joining the group was just something that was destined to happen at some point. We’ve now reached that point, and there’s at least one person who loves this: Rich Rodriguez.