Michigan State recruiting: What fans need to know about the new early signing period

Coach Mark Dantonio and Michigan State should get plenty of early Christmas presents this week — ideally 20.

That’s how many players the Spartans have committed to their 2018 class, which will have its first opportunity to sign on Wednesday. The inaugural early signing period for college football recruits goes from Dec. 20-22, after which point all those unsigned will have to wait until Feb. 7 for their next chance.

Technically, letters of intent don’t need to be signed, but it’s standard in recruiting these days. It’s how coaches lock in a commitment, and it’s how recruits ensure their spot on the roster once they enroll. With that in mind, here’s what Michigan State fans should know about the new early period.

1. It’s great for Michigan State.

You can find plenty of things wrong with the early period, whether it’s the timing, the pressure to sign or the rapidity of the cycle. But most coaches have warmly welcomed it. Michigan State should be no different. The Spartans tend to land the majority of their classes during the summer, and this change saves them seven weeks of trying to fend off other programs in pursuit of their commits. Get them signed now, and focus largely can be shifted to preparing for the Holiday Bowl.

2. This should take care of almost all the Spartans’ work.

If all goes according to plan, Wednesday should make the regular signing period quiet and boring for Michigan State, a welcome change from years past. The Spartans have 20 players committed to their 2018 class — adding another by Wednesday remains a slight possibility — and Dantonio expects all of them to sign this week. Accomplish that mission, and only a couple more spots will remain to be filled. They can prioritize top targets at wide receiver and on the defensive line to close things out when Feb. 7 comes around.

3. Seven of these players plan to be enrolled in three weeks.

The early enrollment trend continues to heat up. Michigan State only had three recruits who chose that route in the 2017 class, and now seven plan to do so in this cycle: quarterback Theo Day, wide receivers Ja’Vez Alexander and Julian Major, offensive lineman Dimitri Douglas, linebacker Edward Warinner and defensive backs Kalon Gervin and Xavier Henderson. They are expected to sign on Wednesday right as they finish up their final days in high school, and then they will enroll at Michigan State shortly after the holidays.

4. It’s the last time the cycle will be like this.

In the future, Michigan State might even be able to have its entire class committed and signed during the early period. Several prospects have been held back in their process because of the rule preventing them from taking official visits during the spring. That all changes during the next cycle, when players can take expenses-paid visits from April through June. Once that happens, recruits who otherwise would have to do so during their senior seasons could be ready to make their decision even earlier. Speeding up the recruiting process as a whole could be detrimental to the players, but most coaches will love it.

The post Michigan State recruiting: What fans need to know about the new early signing period appeared first on Land of 10.

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