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Prospects question how early signing period will benefit them

Leonard Taylor
Leonard Taylor (Nick Lucero/

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When the proposed 72-hour December early signing period became official this month, coaches, fans and pundits alike sounded off on the pros and cons of the rules. Many came to the conclusion that giving prospects the chance to lock in their spots nearly two months earlier would be a positive and take away some of the pressure and distractions leading up to the traditional National Signing Day on the first Wednesday in February.

While it’s all well and good for adults to speculate on how it can benefit recruits, the recruits themselves have yet to be educated on why the new period was enacted and how it will impact them.

“They don’t really tell us what’s going on,” Rivals250 tight end Leonard Taylor said. “They tell the coaches and the coaches are supposed to tell us but I think we should be more involved for sure when they’re coming up with rules that impact us.”

Taylor said he’s in favor of the rule, as did several other prospects surveyed about it. However, most said it’s not something they would likely utilize in their own recruitments.

“I definitely wouldn’t be an early signee,” Stephen Herron, a 2019 Rivals100 defensive end, said. “Just the fact that I did my research and I thought about what if something happened where all the coaches got fired after bowl season? Then you’re [stuck], you can’t go through that. I’ll definitely take earlier official visits and I’ll go with that rule, but I don’t know about the early signing day.”

Herron said that while he’s well-versed in the new rule, the same can’t be said for many recruits.

“I feel like a lot of these dudes out here just know football,” Herron said. “They don’t know the background of football, so probably 75 percent of these dudes don’t know what it is.”


Class of 2019 Rivals100 Cincinnati (Ohio) Walnut DT Jowon Briggs is in that group that Herron described. Despite having offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame and others, he doesn’t keep up on college football and didn’t know about the new rule.

The same goes for Rivals250 defensive back Kalon Gervin, who thought the rule just applied to early enrollees.

“I didn’t know you could sign if you don’t graduate early – that’s nice,” Gervin said when informed of the change. “I didn’t know that. I might think about that to get that over with.”

Three-star Michigan defensive end commit Aidan Hutchinson said he is aware of the rule and will consider signing early, but felt the changes might be in place to benefit schools more than prospects.

“I don’t really know many of the advantages of it,” Hutchinson said. “I guess you could sign early and get it out of the way, but I think it’s better for the school. The coaches would know that they have a solid commitment I guess? I don’t know — we’ll have to see how that plays out in December.”

As the signing period gets closer, knowledge is bound to spread. But one thing is for sure, prospects are resolute in saying they won’t be pressured to sign in December.

“I don’t really pay much attention to it because it doesn’t affect me,” four-star defensive lineman Tyreke Smith said. “ I’ll make my decision when I feel comfortable making it. I’m going to sign when I feel like I’m ready to sign and when I’m ready to go.”