The NCAA announced today that senior football prospects can now sign their national letters of intent in December, instead of waiting until the first Wednesday in February on National Signing Day. Had this rule been in place in the recent past, it could have really worked in Rutgers’ favor.
In the class of 2017, that might have meant the Scarlet Knights would have held onto defensive back Bryce Watts, who left for Virginia Tech in mid-January. That was followed up a week later by a decommitment of Ihmir Marsette, who fled for Iowa and then Minnesota before eventually signing with Iowa.
However, interest in Marsette was just starting to heat up in December as he was a late bloomer. He committed to Rutgers on December 11th, which would have been right around the new signing period, which has not set a specific date as of yet. It was not until after that commitment did other teams really start showing a heightened interest.
An earlier signing day may have locked Marsette up at Rutgers before those other schools could make their last-minute pitches.
This new signing period will also be taking place around the time that new coaching changes are going into effect around the country, which always changes the recruiting game late in the season.
In recent years, an early signing period would have helped Rutgers more than it would have hurt the program. Two years ago, Rutgers had four-star Patrice Rene committed up until January and the year before that, four-star Saeed Blacknall waited until just before signing day to flip to Penn State.
For a ranking and complete analysis of the RU decommits who comprise the “What could have been team,” check out our latest Scarlet Slant.