Bud Elliott notices something interesting about the current recruiting class.
Sometimes you know things are happening, but you don’t realize the full extent until you dig into the data. It happened this week. College football recruits were committing left and right. It seemed like a lot of them were giving their verbal pledges to schools.
247Sports design and social media specialist Ted Hyman also noticed the same, tweeting at the end of April that he was swamped with requests for commitment edits and graphics.
But was it really more than normal for this time of year?
In a word? Yes. Much more than I could have imagined.
“Wowww, so I’m not going crazy,” Hyman said when I sent him the data.
As of May 6, there are 627 committed recruits in the current class of rising seniors (class of 2021). As of May 6 of last year, there were 302 committed recruits (class of 2020). As of May 6 two years ago, there were 243. As of May 6 three years ago, there were 299.
The commitments are happening so fast and so early that as of May 6, 2020, we have more committed recruits than we had in any two previous years combined.
Even more interesting, it’s a trend that’s accelerating since the country went into shutdown mode.
But since recruiting was effectively shut down on March 14, 424 prospects in the class of 2021 have committed. Compare that to 198 over the same period last year, 170 the year before, and 202 the year before that.
Keep in mind that in these eight classes. there have been no recruiting visits, either by recruits to a college campus or by coaches to high schools to see prospects in person. Schools and prospects are flying blind compared to the normal process.
Prospects are scrambling to secure spots in classes, even if they have never visited those campuses. Our analysts know of several prospects who have tried to commit to multiple schools only to be turned away before finally finding a home.
Some coaching staffs, particularly new staffs, are reluctant to take prospects site unseen because of the potential need to squeeze them out of a class could damage relationships in their states with power players and high school coaches. Many of those relationships have not yet been formed in-person due to the shutdown.
But many schools are willing to take them, even if it means having to drop them from their class later in the year.
Elliott thinks that means we may be looking at an epic wave of de-commitments once things return to normal (or whatever normal turns out to be later in the year). Perhaps that’s something credulous pundits who are extremely impressed with Jeremy Pruitt’s recruiting wizardry should be mindful of before making broad pronouncements like this.