At long last, it appears college football will be moving to add an early signing period for recruiting. Basketball's had this for years, and it's had a huge impact on the process -- allowing for earlier recruiting to pick up a bit (see Syracuse's own recent efforts), while also allowing schools to pump the brakes well before National Signing Day.
The College Commissioners Association will be voting on the matter this week, and if it passes, the early signing period will start this year, from December 16-18. In that three-day stretch, players will be able to sign binding commitments to their respective schools of choice. This would remove some of the hoopla around National Signing Day in February, while also preventing some late flips (largely to SEC schools), allowing schools more time to recover from decisions not in their favor and letting kids simply get on with their senior years, decision made.
At the link above, SB Nation's Kevin Trahan, Peter Berkes and Bud Elliott dive into the positives and negatives overall (for schools and players). But what about for Syracuse football, in particular?
Classes could be well locked-in going into bowl season: Think about what happened in 2012/2013, when Doug Marrone's exit in late December/early January led to a mass exodus of a promising recruiting class. In a similar situation, a school would be able to retain players that signed during the early period in December.
Rewards for early evaluation wins: The current Orange staff has done a great job honing in early on some promising recruits, only to to see them drift elsewhere by way of hype and bigger names entering the fray. Obviously these previous cases for SU have been case-dependent -- with some flips happening well before signing day and others happening slighly before -- but with nearly two less months to think things through, players may feel more loyalty to those who were there first.
Prevents late pushes by larger schools to grab SU commits: No we're not SMU, but at the same time, the Orange are not in the upper echelon of power conference names. We saw this past year what happened when a player like Steven Clark starts getting interest from schools like Florida and Ole Miss, and suddenly, the decision's down to the wire. Had he signed during an early period (though he isn't obligated to), that would have never been a concern for SU. Less time for flips can only be a good thing for SU if we're going for top-rated talent.
Classes could be well locked-in going into bowl season: If Syracuse has a lame-duck staff that doesn't recruit well (not the case with this staff), the Orange could be locked into a less-than-great class heading into the pre-NSD recruitment period. If they're getting rid of a staff and bring in a better recruiter, this could also prevent them from improving things prior to NSD.
Rewards for early evaluation wins: While some players (Clark, Ray Rice, others) may have gone to Syracuse under this old system, plenty of others may not have. Recent commit Jake Pickard would've ended up at Wisconsin, while Tyler Cross would've gone to division rival Wake Forest. Earlier cases include #SHAMARKO Thomas, who would've ended up at Louisville. Plenty more to cite as well...
Prevents late pushes by SU to grab smaller-school commits: While Syracuse can be a victim of large-school poaching sometimes, it does work the other way as well. Sometimes the Orange are the "big fish" and we're able to get a late flip. This could/would prevent some of that activity for us (and other schools in similar spots).
So a bunch of pluses and minuses above, but overall, seems Syracuse stands to gain from this move for an early signing period. With a staff like this that appears keen on identifying talent early and creating a connection with recruits, this could pay some big dividends in the short- and long-term.
We'll see what happens next, but you have to like the potential for this move -- especially given the promising class headed to the Hill (right now, anyway) for 2016.