What Notre Dame football fans need to know about the Early Signing Period

The hotly debated change to college football’s recruiting calendar has finally arrived.

The Early Signing Period, which was implemented by the NCAA last spring, will occur Wednesday through Friday. College football recruits, who previously had to wait until February to sign National Letters of Intent, can now make their college choices official during this 72-hour window.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has placed heavy importance on signing players during the early period, and as a result the Irish are poised to add a host of players on Wednesday. Here is a look at what to expect.

What is the Early Signing Period?

As stated earlier, the Early Signing Period is a 72-hour window during which football recruits can sign National Letters of Intent and make their college decisions official. Previously, all recruits had to wait until the first Wednesday in February to sign an NLI.

Under the new system, the regular February Signing Day still exists, but prospects who are secure in their college commitments can end their recruitment six weeks early. That, in turn, will allow coaches to focus their recruiting efforts on unsigned targets, knowing that those who signed during the early period cannot flip to another school.

The change was made in part to allow recruits to take official visits to colleges earlier than had previously been allowed. Under the old recruiting calendar, recruits couldn’t get schools to foot the bill for visits until Sept. 1 of their senior year. Now, recruits can take official visits during from April to June of their junior years.

When is the Early Signing Period?

The Early Signing Period will take place from Wednesday through Friday, Dec. 20-22. The majority of heavyweight recruits are expected to ink their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday.

Which Notre Dame commits are signing during the Early Signing Period?

Notre Dame has 20 players committed in its 2018 class, and head coach Brian Kelly expects all 20 to finalize their pledges during the Early Signing Period.

“If our players are committed, they’ll sign in December,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said on Dec. 4. “If they’re not committed, they won’t.”

Here is the list of current Irish commits who are expected to sign with the team this week, with rankings from the 247sports.com composite ratings:

  • Jayson Ademilola/DT/Jersey City, N.J./4-star/nation’s No. 14 defensive tackle/No. 159 overall prospect
  • Justin Ademilola/DE/Jersey City, N.J./3-star/nation’s No. 33 defensive end/No. 608 overall
  • Derrik Allen/S/Marietta, Ga./4-star/nation’s No. 7 safety/No. 69 overall
  • Kevin Austin/WR/Pompano Beach, Fl./4-star/nation’s No. 14 wide receiver/No. 73 overall
  • Matthew Bauer/ILB/Erie, Penn./4-star/nation’s No. 15 inside linebacker/No. 280 overall
  • Tariq Bracy/ATH/Milpitas, Calif./3-star/nation’s No. 24 athlete/No. 411 overall
  • John Dirkson/OT/Marla Sten, Ohio/3-star/nation’s No. 38 offensive tackle/No. 499 overall
  • Ja’Mion Franklin/DT/Ridgely, Md./3-star/nation’s No. 42 defensive tackle/No. 549 overall
  • Houston Griffith/CB/Bradenton, Fl./4-star/nation’s No. 11 cornerback/No. 63 overall
  • Micah Jones/WR/Gurne, Ill./4-star/nation’s No. 62 wide receiver/No. 354 overall
  • Phil Jurkovec/QB/Gibsonia, Pa./4-star/nation’s No. 5 dual-threat QB/No. 66 overall
  • Jack Lamb/ILB/Temecula, Calif./4-star/nation’s No. 6 inside linebacker/No. 131 overall
  • Cole Mabry/OT/Brentwood, Tenn./3-star/nation’s No. 54 offensive tackle/No. 689 overall
  • Paul Moala/S/Michawaka, In./3-star/nation’s No. 85 safety/not ranked overall
  • Ovie Oghoufo/OLB/Farmington, Mich./3-star/nation’s No. 36 outside linebacker/No. 252 overall
  • Shayne Simon/OLB/Jersey City, N.J./4-star/nation’s No. 7 outside linebacker/No. 132 overall
  • Jahmir Smith/RB/Sanford, N.C./3-star/nation’s No. 26 running back/No. 586 overall
  • George Takacs/TE/Naples, Fl./4-star/nation’s No. 12 tight end/No. 244 overall
  • Tommy Tremble/TE/Norcross, Ga./3-star/nation’s No. 20 tight end/No. 475 overall
  • Joe Wilkins Jr./ATH/North Fort Meyers, Fl./3-star/nation’s No. 60 athlete/No.712 overall

Which Notre Dame recruits are announcing during the Early Signing Period?

While the Irish are expected to have 20 sure signees this week, it is still possible that they could pick up one or two more from prospects who have not yet revealed their final decision. Two prospects currently holding Notre Dame offers are set to sign during the early period. Those players are:

  • Julius Irvin/S/Anaheim, Calif./4-star/nation’s No. 13 safety/No. 149 overall
  • Braden Lenzy/WR/Portland, Ore./4-star/nation’s No. 10 WR/No. 212 overall

According to 247sports’ crystal ball projections, the Irish have a good shot at landing Lenzy, who was committed to Oregon but withdrew his pledge when Willie Taggart left for Florida State. Irvin, meanwhile, is appears most likely to sign with USC.

Which Notre Dame commits aren’t signing during the Early Signing Period?

As Kelly has asked, no players currently committed to Notre Dame are planning on waiting until February to sign their National Letters of Intent. However, a few highly-valued prospects are. That includes Amon-Ra St. Brown, the younger brother of current Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. The younger St. Brown is considered a 5-star prospect — the No. 2 receiver in the country — and is considering USC, UCLA and Michigan along with Notre Dame.

Which Notre Dame commits are enrolling early?

Seven of Notre Dame’s current 20 commits are planning to enroll at the school in January to give themselves an extra semester to learn the team’s system and adjust to college life. Those players are Houston Griffith, Jack Lamb, George Takacs, Matthew Bauer, Micah Jones, Ovie Oghuofo and Jahmir Smith.

It appears the new recruiting calendar may have incentivized enrolling early for some players, as last year only four of Notre Dame’s 21 signees came to campus in January.

The post What Notre Dame football fans need to know about the Early Signing Period appeared first on Diehards.

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