The ole’ National Signing Day we all know and love could potentially be replaced by the new early signing period.
2017 is the first year recruits can officially sign National Letters of Intent in December so that they can enroll in January and get an extra semester on campus and hopefully make an impact during spring ball for their respective teams.
In previous years, this was known as greenshirting. It allowed recruits to sign and enroll a semester early. As the early signing period is implemented, it will become a much more common practice and more recruits will want to become ready to be on the field and in the classroom earlier in their college careers.
Differences Between Redshirting, Grayshirting, Blueshirting and Greenshirting: pic.twitter.com/VGVfNsozIA— UnderRecruited Preps (@UnderRecruited) July 10, 2016
College football is not the only sport to use two signing periods. College basketball has been using it for some time now. Although most basketball recruits don’t enroll in January with their seasons still going on, it’s something that has been useful. This year, Texas Tech managed to sign two recruits, Deshawn Corprew and Kyler Edwards, to National Letters of Intent during the last few weeks.
The early signing period for football is from December 20—December 22, a 72-hour window for committed recruits to put ink to paper and become official members of their programs. This also can help coaches to scout and prepare freshman for immediate impact on their teams.
This has not been more clearly shown than with Jack Anderson, Freshmen All-American for Texas Tech. He green-shirted last year and got an extra semester to hit the weight room, practice with the team and get ahead in his classes. This helped him prepare mentally and physically for college football and college in general. The extra time of preparation will have profound effects on college football, giving athletes more time to physically prepare to make injuries among true freshman less common.
The early signing period is something that will benefit college football as a whole by giving student-athletes more time to prepare for their college careers. For skill players, particularly, signing early will give them six extra months in a college weight room, helping them gain muscle crucial to keeping the injury bug away in their early careers. The early signing period is here, and it is here to stay.