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Syracuse likely to benefit from early football signing in place for December 2017

Class of 2018 signees can make it official as soon as Dec. 20, 2017.

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

MAY UPDATE: It was made official on May 8 that the 2018 early signing period would take place on December 20-22, 2017.

SB Nation’s Alex Kirshner talked about the impact on class of 2018 recruits and the three-day period that will undoubtedly impact Syracuse in some way, shape or form.’s Stephen Bailey even heard from four-star Orange commit Tyrone Sampson about what the early signing days* mean for him:

UPDATE: The vote passed, so early signing period will be happening, whether you’re a fan or not. See the pros and cons for Syracuse below.

The NCAA is set to pass a few new rules this week (probably Friday) that would have great potential impact on the Syracuse Orange football program. One of them is pretty cut and dry: a 10th coaching position, effective January 2018.

But the other major discussion -- an early football signing period for recruiting.— is a little more nuanced. Basically, the current National Signing day (in early February) would stay intact. But in addition to that would be an early signing period, coinciding with the JUCO signing period that already exists in mid-to-late December.

SB Nation’s Bud Elliott dives into it at length in a very broad sense. Some of his biggest takeaways, however, can be directly related back to Syracuse. In terms of who benefits most here:

Teams who are good at scouting and can secure early commitments from prospects who otherwise might be poached from better programs later in the process.

We saw this a ton under Scott Shafer and Doug Marrone, as the staffs would identify talent very well early on, only to lose players once they gained an extra star, or attended a camp somewhere. Some of those losses occurred earlier than December, sure. But plenty didn’t. The ability to I.D. talent early becomes a much more vital talent for a staff, and is rewarded accordingly.

Syracuse may get dinged in terms of late flips, but the only reason we’ve usually needed those is because we’ve lost better players to better schools. So that impact ends up being minimal for the Orange.

Northern teams could benefit, since in conjunction with the new date, the NCAA includes a rule that prospects will be allowed to take official visits (paid for by the school, and accompanied by a parent or high school coach) in April.

Oh hey, we’re a Northern school! And yeah, getting players to campus well before the REAL cold sets in could potentially help us out a ton, especially if we continue mining Florida for talent the way we have been of late. Unofficial visits can clearly get around this whole dynamic, too. And admittedly, kids could just decline to sign with Northern schools like SU until the regular signing day.

Still, there are better opportunities here than risks.

Programs who get many commitments to sign early will see big benefits.

This one’s the question mark. If Syracuse goes after the right recruits, and ones that aren’t getting too much interest from larger schools (a double-edged sword), they could benefit greatly. It could also help them close an even stronger class if there’s already a strong group of players signed before February.

That becomes a selling point for recruits who want to be part of a winning team and a sure thing. The same could be said for plenty of other schools, but it’s something Syracuse (and many others) could use to their advantage to punch up a level in class quality.

Those are the potential benefits, but all of them could also backfire. At current, Syracuse is not battling for tons of four-stars, but they do get a look from a few, and those few may always be waiting on a coaching change at a place like SU.

The early signing benefit’s not as relevant if our coach (Babers or anyone after him) looks like he’s bound for the next gig. Using April visits is also a bit overblown, since again, there are plenty of other (better) Northern schools we’d be up against for top talent.

The other major problem here -- and the one that’ll get glossed over -- is the issues for the players, who lose some flexibility in exchange for being hassled less from December through the first week of February. They also get locked into coaching situations they didn’t sign up for far more under this plan, unless Bud’s proposal to make some things coach-dependent is added.

There’s also the academic qualification issue, which could affect private schools (like Syracuse) more than some public institutions.

Ultimately, we should be for the early signing period for Syracuse. But let’s not pretend it’s completely without fault.

Agree? Disagree? Share your own thoughts below.