What Penn State fans need to know about the early signing period

The pursuit of 2018 prospects reaches a new phase this week for Penn State. College football’s inaugural early signing period starts Wednesday, presenting an opportunity for high school seniors to finalize their recruiting process by issuing a National Letter of Intent to the university of their choice.

This period extends through Friday and it’s expected to feature substantial developments for the Nittany Lions. Fans who’ve been monitoring  2018 Penn State recruiting big board will be happy to learn James Franklin & Co. are in excellent shape to seal the deal with many talented athletes this week.

Though a few questions remain for the Nittany Lions’ recruiting efforts, Penn State is primed to take another leap toward securing one of the nation’s most talented recruiting classes. Here’s a brief breakdown of what to expect from this first early signing period.

What is the early signing period?

In the past, high school seniors signed their letter of intent on the first Wednesday of February. However, a recent adjustment to the recruiting calendar created this new window of time for prospects to finish the process prior to Christmas.

This allows athletes to ensure their scholarship slot, while collegiate staffs can move forward focused on a select few uncommitted recruits rather than 20-plus prospects.

When is the early signing period?

The early signing period takes place Wednesday, Dec. 20 through Friday, Dec. 22. The next opportunity for recruits to officially send in their letter of intent is the traditional National Signing Day, which awaits on Feb. 7.

Which Penn State commitments are signing during the early signing period?

Penn State is expected to sign nearly all, if not all, of its 20 committed recruits this week. The Nittany Lions secured 10 pledges during a six-week span this summer, and this class actually spent a significant portion of last offseason at No. 1 in 247Sports composite rankings, where it is currently listed fifth.

This group includes nine players considered top-10 prospects at their position. It’s headlined by a pair of 5-star talents: receiver Justin Shorter of New Jersey and running back Ricky Slade of Virginia.

Penn State commits, from left, Zack Kuntz, Jesse Luketa, Charlie Katshir and Justin Shorter are each expected to sign this week. (Tyler Donohue/Land of 10)

Which Penn State recruits are announcing during the early signing period?

There will be plenty of focus on Harrisburg, Pa., Wednesday morning when 5-star recruit Micah Parsons announces his college choice. The former Penn State pledge spent 14 months as a member of this class prior to his April 23 de-commitment.

Parsons, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound edge rusher is considered a top-5 overall prospect among 2018 talents. His announcement is scheduled to take place shortly before 10 a.m. ET.

He used his fifth and final official visit last weekend, traveling to Georgia. His other trips led him to Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Penn State. Parsons’ Harrisburg High School teammate, Shaquon Anderson-Butts, committed to the Nittany Lions in July.

Which Penn State commitments aren’t signing during the early signing period?

There has been no confirmation of a Penn State commit who definitely plans to skip the early signing period, but it certainly shouldn’t be ruled out. This development may indicate there are academic issues to sort out, or a prospect simply needs more time before finalizing plans to attend the university in 2018.

Which Penn State commitments are enrolling early?

We’ve confirmed at least five members of this class plan to arrive on campus as Penn State student-athletes in January. Those set to graduate high school early and participate in Nittany Lions spring camp include linebackers Jesse Luketa and Nick Tarburton, defensive backs Isaiah Humphries and Trent Gordon, and tight end Zack Kuntz.

Jesse Luketa-penn state-recruiting
Jesse Luketa will enroll in January. (Student Sports/Courtesy)

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