But no one’s really sure what to expect. The noise has been turned down — and we’ll see, but maybe a lot — by the advent of a December early signing period.
“There’s no doubt it’s different,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn says. “From our standpoint, it won’t be near as hectic as it was.”
Most of the hay is already in the barn.
But this year, things have changed. College football’s Christmas came at, well, Christmas. Many schools secured the majority of their recruiting classes December 20-22 after the establishment, for the first time, of an early signing period for football.
According to ESPN’s rankings, 221 of the top 300 players signed letters of intent in December. Only nine of the top 50 players in 247Sports’ composite rankings remain unsigned.
Approximately 80% of prospects in the 247Sports database who had given schools nonbinding, verbal commitments signed. Using the total number of signees from the 2017 class as a baseline, 247Sports estimates 65% of prospects in the Class of 2018 have already signed.
All of which means come Wednesday — well, what exactly?
“In terms of the big names and the big stories, it’s gonna be similar to every other signing day,” says Barton Simmons, director of scouting for 247Sports. “There’s some major programs fighting for the same guys. There’s five-stars that have everybody guessing. There’s plenty of drama that we’re used to for signing day — the difference is, there’s just not the same quantity of it.
“There’s not the depth of drama. There’s not the frenetic energy to it that we’ve seen in years past, where every school in the country is scrambling to hold onto a class or fill it out.”
Who could have ever predicted that the biggest crisis the early signing period would create would be the challenge for the recruiting services to keep their clientele as engaged as before?
One of the ways they’re trying to promote some of that faux drama is over which of Ohio State and Georgia will finish first in the school recruiting rankings for this class. (Oooh, I sit on the edge of my seat.) If for some reason you find that to be a compelling story, I’m here for you. Here’s a look at that race from the Ohio State perspective — with math! — from the good folks at Eleven Warriors.