It’s the college football recruiting early National Signing Day. What are the ten things that matter? What do you need to know?
This year, the whole college football recruiting thing – especially the early National Signing Day – is just … strange.
Recruiting hasn’t necessarily lost its importance, but it’s just not the same as it was back when National Signing Day was in the first week of February. That’s still in place, but if you don’t get your haul of players now, you’re left with scraps on the next go-round in two months.
1. The bowl season is about to start. It all starts up on Friday, the NFL playoff chase has taken center stage in the sports world, and there’s sort of a big thing going on that’s sucking up most of the planet’s attention right now. We’ll get into our annual recruiting analysis thing with all the player lists from low friends in high places that we end up working off of, but we’ll save it all for mid-January to take a full look at how it all comes together, because …
2. We still don’t know who’s leaving early for the NFL Draft. The early entry aspect is far more important to the make-up of teams going into the 2020 season, and even bigger than that is the …
3. Transfer portal. Signing a player now doesn’t mean what it did a few years ago. The odds used to be overwhelming that the four-and-five-star guys everyone gushed over weren’t going to live up to the hype. Now, if they aren’t quite as good as expected, they might go off somewhere else and rock.
And even if they are great prospects and players – Jalen Hurts, Justin Fields, Kyler Murray, and after some work, Baker Mayfield, Joe Burrow – many are going to bolt if things aren’t working out as planned.
The transfer portal is far, far more relevant – it’s the free agent market – than speculating about a bunch of prospects who may or may not develop once they get out of high school.
And finally …
4. This thing has become so sophisticated that there aren’t too many surprises anymore. If you don’t know most of your top commitments at this point, you’re hosed.
There will be some fighting among the elite for a few of the big-time prospects still figuring out what they’re doing, but mostly everyone has their base in place.
But with all of that, as always, recruiting matters – mostly in the macro.
It’s silly to get into a twist over one top guy and make too much out of it – take a look at the USC quarterback situation this year when Kedon Slovis went off after former super-recruit JT Daniels went down – but there’s still plenty to care about overall.
Here are the …
College Football Recruiting Early National Signing Day: 10 Things That Matter
10. The new head coach recruiting scramble
9. Washington and Oregon
8. Nebraska would like to win now
7. Where did Justin Flowe sign?
6. Where did Jordan Burch sign?
5. Mack Brown is going Mack Brown
4. Texas is doing fine
3. Clemson is dominating
2. The one new recruit you HAVE to know
1. The SEC is really good at this
10. USC, Arkansas, Missouri, Florida State … it’s time to scramble
It’s one of the aspects of the college football recruiting early signing period that’s an absolute killer.
Make a coaching change – or merely speculating that a coach is done – and your recruiting is all but dead for a year.
For USC, Arkansas, Missouri and Florida State, anything good they can get now is nice, but they might have to hope for February to provide a boost.
Sam Pittman might bring a whole lot of energy to the Arkansas job with Chad Morris gone, he has to quickly find a whole lot of players to sign in a sparse class that’s missing live bodies. On the plus side, Morris came up with a strong 2018 class.
The same goes for Clay Helton at USC. This would’ve been a very, very different next few days if this was Urban Meyer about to make a few billion phone calls to teenagers.
Helton not only has to sell his program despite being on relatively shaky ground, but he has to find talented upgrades to an already loaded team full of young talent.
Willie Taggart seemed to be the master of the near-miss recruiter at Florida State. He was able to get several good players, but time and again he had the hat on the table that didn’t get picked. Even so, he’s a fantastic recruiter – he’ll load up FAU – and had a decent foundation in place in Tallahassee. Now it’s up to Mike Norvell to try desperately to land a big recruit or three to do anything to make a dent into what Clemson is doing.
Eli Drinkwitz wasn’t left a totally bare cupboard at Missouri, but there’s a whole lot of work to do to upgrade the talent level after Barry Odom was let go right when he was in full recruiting mode.