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Syracuse football recruiting: Early signing period explainer

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Ready or not, things start happening on Wednesday.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

If you feel like you’re seeing a lot more football recruiting content of late, you’re not imagining things. This year, the typical calendar has been thrown for a loop. The new early signing period means earlier commitments and earlier signings than we usually see.

As we’ve discussed before in this space, that’s probably a good thing for the Syracuse Orange. But that only scratches the surface on what you need to know about this new wrinkle to recruiting.

What else? Here’s our full explainer below:

When’s early signing day?

December 20-22. So it’s more of an early signing period, really.

What about the other signing day?

National Signing Day also remains at the same spot in the calendar. For the 2018 football class, it’ll take place on February 7.

So what’s the difference?

Early signing day helps both programs and players turn the page on the recruiting process a bit sooner, while also not triggering early enrollment or anything like that (unless a player/school wants it to).

By this point, senior high school football seasons have largely wrapped up and many players have gotten the offers they’ll receive and taken the campus visits they’ll take. They’ve been inundated with texts and calls since at least February. They’re over the process and really, things can only go downward from here for both player and school.

So the early signing period lets them lock in their commitments, and coaches get a little more piece of mind on their incoming class before the holidays. If players are waiting on scores or want more time to make their decision, they can still wait until February if they so choose.

They still using fax machines for this?

Most definitely.

How many kids are signing in December vs. February?

A lot, it ends up. Maybe 75 percent or more. Schools are treating this like THE signing day and viewing nearly every uncommitted kid afterward as a player who may end up flipping late on them. That’s not exactly what the early signing period was intended to do. But in year one, these things are still an experiment for everyone involved.

So how does that help Syracuse?

Quite a few ways!

For one, we’re not bringing kids to CNY in the dead of winter for visits. That sounds trivial, but it’s helpful. I know I thought I understood winter before arriving on campus having grown up in the Northeast. After my first winter at SU, I most certainly had a newfound understanding of cold weather. Now amplify that for kids from Florida, Georgia, Texas, California, etc.

More directly, however, it should help reward our early evaluation process on players and help us avoid as many late flips to “bigger” schools. In the past, we’ve had top-40/45 recruiting classes in mid-December, only to see them picked apart as the dominoes fell at larger programs. Now, that can’t happen as much. It’s not impossible. But there’s much less time for every school (us included) to toss out a first round of offers and then hit reset once we see who does/doesn’t come aboard.

Okay, who’s signing with Syracuse next week?

Based on what coaches have been saying around the country, one would assume most of the current 2018 verbal commits. However, it’s tough to say with only a handful of guys sharing when they’ll specifically sign. Here’s who seems ready to sign next week (based on what they’ve said/tweeted publicly):

  • Tyrone Sampson, C (4 star)
  • Atrilleon Williams, ATH (4 star)
  • Tre Allison, LB (3 star)

That doesn’t mean those are the only players signing with SU between next Wednesday and Friday. But that’s who we can pretty much bank on right now. Feels good that two of them are four-stars, no?

Looking at verbal commits, is this class full already?

Nope. We have 18 players verbally committed, leaving four scholarships left (since Samuel Clausman’s career has been declared over due to concussions, that’s an additional scholarship now). Without any defensive linemen in the current class, it would be nice to make a JUCO add or two at that spot. There’s also the longshot that SU lands a quarterback. Don’t want to force the latter, however. Would much rather try again next year with a full cycle ahead of us for 2019.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Syracuse Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Any chances for (good) surprises next week from top remaining targets?

Seems unlikely. If a player hasn’t verbally committed to Syracuse yet given the quality of this class, they probably have more to do in order to come to a decision. That’s fine. Last-minute flips might still happen in February, however (depending on how many players sign next week).

Are the murmurs about Sean Lewis and Kent State going to affect anything?

Sure hope not, though Lewis has been pretty active on the trail for Syracuse since he arrived.

Dino doing nicknames again this year?

Crossing fingers.

How high can Syracuse’s class finish?

We’ve alluded to it a couple times above, but Syracuse is hanging around the top 35-40 classes in the country -- which would be the best ranking for the Orange in the last 10-12 years at the very least. Obviously we’re going to get displaced by a few larger programs with smaller classes at the moment. However, SU could finish as high as 38 or so, and still between 40 and 45 in a worst-case (should everyone sign). That’s pretty fantastic progress for Dino Babers and co.

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Any more questions? Ask away in the comments.