Early Signing Period Coming To College Football

Jordan Wells, Staff Writer
The Hoosier

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Some major rule changes are coming to college football that will have an effect on the Hoosiers' recruiting.

Among the pending changes announced on Friday is an early signing date in college football, earlier official visits allowed for prospects and the potential to hire a 10th assistant coach.

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Jordan Wells/TheHoosier.com

December Signing Period

This technically still must be approved by the Collegiate Commissioners Association, which meets in June - but there's not any expected issues there.

There has been only one signing period for FBS prospects, which doesn't begin until the first Wednesday of February. Basketball prospects, for example, can sign both in a fall period (in November) or the spring (starting in April.)

Now, though, it seems football student-athletes will have the option to sign a NLI in December if they wish. This will go into effect for the upcoming cycle (2018 prospects.)

“There’s so many different views from changing of recruiting calendar,” former Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson said in October. “To me with kids committing, a lot of us would like to see the recruiting slow down, and I think the best way to slow it down would be to make it final earlier.

"The word doesn’t mean a lot right now. I’m an old-school, handshake give you what it means something.”

Theoretically, this could help the Hoosiers from a late poaching of their prospects by blueblooded programs. Obviously, though, this could also prevent IU from flipping a prospect of their own they want late.

Regardless, it seems beneficial for student-athletes who want to end their recruiting process sooner. It also encourages earlier transparency for both programs and prospects, as verbal commitments (from both sides) can get messy.

There is the potential for prospects who sign into December to run into a bad circumstance of coaching changes. It will be something recruits will have to consider on a case-by-case basis.

Earlier Official Visits

Programs will now be able to host official visits for a period starting April 1 of a prospect's junior year through the last Wednesday in June of that year.

Previously, prospects could not start official visits until after their first day of senior year classes.

This seems like it could be a good thing for a more northern school like Indiana, who now can host recruits when it is warmer weather. Obviously that's a very minor thing in the grand scheme of things, but hey, it's worth noting.

One aspect to consider, though, is taking a kid on an earlier official visit could be problematic if the kid doesn't sign until December (or worse, February.) It might be hard to get out-of-state kids back on campus again for a long time as you try to secure a commitment.

10th Assistant Coach

Schools will be allowed to hire a tenth full-time assistant coach in January 2018.

That means the Hoosiers have several months to find another coach to fill a specified role for the team.

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