Early Signing Period Arrives
Wednesday marks the beginning of the early signing period, an eight day period in which players are allowed to sign a National Letter of Intent or “NLI”.
Unlike scholarship offers and verbal commitments, the NLI is a legally binding document, and one that solidifies a prospects’ commitment to accept a school’s athletic scholarship offer.
The early signing period runs through Wednesday, November 20th after which point prospects are no longer able to sign NLI’s until the spring signing period in April.
One of the reasons why that is significant is because if a player makes a verbal commitment between now and the spring, with the intention to sign in April, they do not have any way to guarantee their scholarship should that school experience any coaching changes.
Prospects who sign early have the advantage of getting that scholarship guarantee in writing, regardless of what happens during the upcoming season.
That’s not to sign signing early is necessarily better than signing late. There are certainly advantages to both, with one benefit of waiting being a significantly reduced number of available prospects left on the board for schools to chose from.
This year’s early signing period is expected to be especially busy, both locally and nationally.
From a national perspective, at least 90 of the country’s top 100 prospects, as designated by the ESPN 100, are expected to ink their NLI in the next eight days.
Locally, we’re expecting 9 of the top 10 prospects in the NERR 2014 rankings to sign this week along and over 30 scholarship recipients in total.
Some of the more notable local signatures expected this week include: Goodluck Okonoboh to UNLV; Abdul-Malik Abu to N.C. State; Kaleb Joseph to Syracuse; Paschal Chukwu to Providence; Bonzie Colson to Notre Dame; Tory Miller to Colorado; and Jacquil Taylor to Purdue.
Players who won’t be signing this week include local Ivy bound prospects like Alec Brennan (Princeton), Makai Mason (Yale), Sem Kroon (Yale), Mike Auger (UPenn), and Mike Leblanc (Princeton), since the Ivy League does not award athletic scholarship and consequently does not accept the National Letter of Intent.