By David Beaudin
Frogs Today staff writer
Remember the days where you would hear about college football staffs, armed with large coffees and flip phones, huddled around the fax machine on the first Wednesday morning in February — National Signing Day — waiting for the recruit they have been coveting to finally make it official?
Most likely, you’ll be surprised to know that it actually was not all that long ago when we were watching live “staff cams” to see clapping and high-fiving after a big-time prospect chose his school.
The early signing period began just six short years ago in December 2017. While antiquated, the fax machine was still somehow a part of the equation. Signees could scan signed letters via email, and most were starting to trend that way toward the end of the traditional signing day era, but that old battleship piece of equipment was still in a dark room somewhere just in case.
Much more has changed during this time than sliding a piece of paper into a screeching machine and sending it through a telephone line. Namely, the 72-hour early signing period that takes place during the start of the third week of December, this past year falling from December 21 – 23.
Typically, we will see over 80 percent of prospects sign early, though that number is tough to quantify accurately due to the difficulty in defining a recruitable athlete for the highest level before they sign. With that said, a large majority of “big-time” prospects, or those playing upper-level Power 5 football, will ink their commitment in December.
There are a few exceptions who want to announce their commitment during the national high school All-Star games in January or the occasional prospect who holds out to February, such as safety Warren Roberson as we documented earlier in the week when he flipped to Texas.
While on the subject of commitments, however, that is also something that has directly impacted the recruiting calendar and coaches’ schedule for sure.
Let’s dive into both of those things.