The new recruiting math

How much of an impact with the new early signing period have?  Well, consider this:

In the 2016 class, from Dec. 20 through the month of January before signing day, 224 FBS recruits either decommitted or flipped their commitments to other schools. In the 2017 class, during the same time period, 238 prospects changed their commitment status.

Now, obviously, the new rules don’t stop that from continuing to happen.  Reading between the lines in the linked article, here’s a guess as to what’s coming.

  1. There will be a significant number of recruits who will sign in December.  (“I spoke to 76 recruits ranked in the top 150 of the ESPN 300 rankings, and 44 said they had plans to sign in December.”)
  2. That group will be largely comprised of kids who have already committed to a school.  (“Of the five-stars who said they are planning on enrolling early, all but Marshall are currently committed.”)
  3. Like it or not, the numbers suggest that some kids who want to sign in December won’t be allowed to sign early.  (“When you’ve got one program, on average, making 230 offers but only able to sign 25 players, there’s a natural amount of friction — a type of tension that exists in that system.”)
  4. There will be those recruits who simply don’t want to make a decision until the last minute (“But then again, there are some recruits who actually don’t know where they’re going, which is why they wouldn’t sign early. Most know where they’re going, but want all the recruiting hype and fun, so they play around with it…”), either due to uncertainty or because they enjoy playing the recruiting game.
  5. To the extent that coaches are unhappy about the new rules, it’s largely because they sense a certain loss of control.  Most of that isn’t about the top kids, as the above numbers hint at, but, instead, for recruits at the margins — late bloomers, for example.  But it’s more likely related to how they have to manage the numbers two months earlier than they’ve been used to.  It’s one thing to cut a kid loose very late in the process because the slot you’ve held open was filled at the end by someone higher on your board.  It’s another to try to talk that kid into hanging around for two months on a maybe when he’s got a hard offer from another school in his hand.  We’ll soon see who’s really good at that kind of sales work.

Bottom line?  Expect more grumbling from head coaches.


Filed under Recruiting

11 responses to “The new recruiting math

  1. Poor babies that make $3,000,000+ per year as glorified PE teachers … cry me a river, you bunch of control freaks.


    • Gaskilldawg

      You hit the nail on the head, ee.


      • Even the ones at the lower levels or who coach in non-revenue sports who make into the 6 figures, I don’t have one bit of sympathy for them in this case. Anything that gives the student-athlete more control over his/her future, I can get behind. Other sports have had early signing periods for decades. What makes football so special?


  2. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    What would worry me the most about December signings is that it is way too early to know who among your Junior class is going to declare. 25/85 can be a problem if guys you thought were going don’t go, or if guys you thought were staying do go. Not being able to offer a kid who is willing to come in December because you don’t have the space and then in January you get the space, but he’s been signed elsewhere, and the converse – signing someone because you expect to have the space, but then, oops, you don’t.

    I think the worry about marginal players is a little over stated. 5s and 4s generally will be allowed to sign any time if there is a space, especially if they fill a particular need. The 3s and lower have known they could get an offer in the fall but couldn’t sign until February and their space could go away depending on developments. The only thing that is going to be different is that some of these folks are going to settle for a school that will take them in December, instead of settling in February.


    • Sportsdawg

      Yes. Some kids that are not rated 4s & 5s who want to commit in December are going to pose some dilemmas for these coaches because these are the kids who discover in January they don’t hear any more from a school after “their slot” has been filled by a 5* commitment. Since all schools offer a lot more ‘ships than they actually have, it’s coming back to bite some of them in the butt big time.


  3. Sanford222view

    I think this is good for the kids. Better to know in December who is truly giving you a solid offer versus those who will take you if better options don’t pan out. They will have a little more information to work with when making a decision.


    • Macallanlover

      I agree, and feel the coaches also get a benefit by locking in 1/2 to 2/3 of their class and using that last few weeks to concentrate on fewer targets. Good for both sides, imo, and cuts down on the number of last minute hose jobs.


  4. MGW

    I think this is a huge advantage for us and (if it’s even possible for them to gain more of a recruiting advantage) Bama. There are many things at which Smart has yet to prove himself to be on par with Saban. But as far as roster management and recruiting go he’s right up there. This is going to cause major problems for the coaches less skilled in those areas, but I’m 100% confident that of all coaches, Saban and Smart have it completely under control.


    • Governor Milledge

      Exactly. We’ve seen Bama getting guys to greyshirt when they’ve had an open full scholly available elsewhere – it’s hard to believe the willingness of guys to wait around for slots to open at big named programs will change. I think the rich will get richer with this system


  5. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    One other thing that has occurred to me was spawned in my mind by thinking about J.R. Reed and Gibbs – the speculation/assumption is that he transferred to play with his cousin and/or we accepted him so it would give Gibbs an incentive to come. I can 5s and some 4s saying in December “Yes, I’ll sign if you also offer my best friend/cousin, etc. so we can sign together.” I think it will certainly generate some blog/twitter traffic beyond the enormous amount that we have seen in the past.


  6. Macallanlover

    That last month flip rate looks like under 10% to me but it is concentrated near the top of the recruit list I bet with a heavy dose of 4&5 star. And that means the bigger football powers are the ones getting the rug pulled out from under them the most. Also means some 3 star may be getting the boot to make room for them, or some 3rd team scholarship guy gets a doctors appointment to tell him his dream is over and he isn’t medically fit to play football any longer. All the more reason to cut down on the last minute shenanigans. Doesn’t solve all the recruiting problems, not even close, but this change is better.