Littleton, CO native Eric Lee committed to the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Feb 1, 2014. It’ll be over a year until he can put pen to paper making his verbal commitment official. During the recruiting process, the fear of fans (and more importantly coaches) of a stud like Lee decommitting now technically has to go on until February 2015. It shouldn’t have to and it appears that it may not before too long.
According to the staff member who handles NCAA National Letter of Intent affairs, the implementation of an early signing period is just a matter of time. Lee, who has been very outspoken about his affection for Nebraska could do a number of things by giving an official signature before next February.
Coaches could adjust their numbers on recruiting big boards, other recruits who would want to play alongside him for the Cornhuskers know he’s truly committed and, well, the word “commitment” actually means something. It also prevents (or at least lessens) highly-coveted prospects from being harassed via social media or to the point where they have to change their telephone numbers to avoid interviews.
Some recruits just want to enjoy their senior seasons and end the recruiting process on their terms. Allowing them do so with this method is ideal for that purpose as well.
A very valid concern pops up when it comes to coaches leaving a program, such as James Franklin departing the Vanderbilt Commodores‘ program for the Penn State Nittany Lions‘. No prospect should be locked into a contract (and that is what a National Letter of Intent is, by the way) under such circumstances. Should a head coach depart, there should be an opt-out clause allowing a prospect the ability to sign elsewhere on a later date.
As college football recruiting has evolved, the need for an early signing period has become crucial. Not only from a practical standpoint, but for the psyches of coaches, recruits and yes, even fans.