Early or Late?

Accurate evaluations are now even more important in football recruiting as prospects are making decisions sooner than ever.

Because of this programs are extending scholarship offers earlier to hopefully secure a commitment from a recruit who has proven he deserves the scholarship offer.

"I still think we do our due diligence when it comes to offering scholarships," NC State recruiting coordinator Jerry Petercuskie stated. "We do our homework and make sure we have all our facts together, and then we're going to make the offer if it's due."

Pack Pride has published a series of stories over the past month looking back at previous recruiting classes to see if there is a correlation between landing early commitments versus late commitments when it comes to signees panning out.

The results have been mixed, and when we asked coach Petercuskie for his opinion he indicated that he didn't believe there was a direct correlation one way or another.

"I don't think that there is a definite correlation in terms of the best players are always the first guys you take," he said. "A lot of our kids we took late, Jamie Silva being one that comes to mind at Boston College who is now playing in the NFL.

"We had Sean Ryan who was a walk-on... when you think about the walk-ons who have been successful for us who are now playing in the NFL.

"You look at some of your early takes... no one knows the injury factor either," Petercuskie added. "It's a very, very difficult thing to measure when it comes to evaluating recruits. I think if you're going to do it in a honest way, if a kid gets hurt it wouldn't count either way, but if you stay healthy for your four or five years I don't know if there is a correlation."

Recruits who land a bunch of early scholarship offers normally are rated higher than a prospect who emerges on one of the national recruiting networks closer to National Signing Day because of the early exposure and attention they receive.

Barring an explosion of high-major offers, that "late" recruit is generally tabbed a sleeper or under-the-radar recruit. However, even though a late pickup might not be known by the recruiting gurus or various fanbases, college coaches have likely thoroughly evaluated them.

"If we take someobody late, most of the time we've known about the kid in some shape or form," said Petercuskie. "The area coach has especially known about him, but the kid may not have been around all of us.

"Some instances we've had kids in camp but didn't offer them at that time... maybe they get better, film looks better as a senior, position needs may dictate whether we can offer right away or not, a lot of factors go into it.

"I do believe, without question, the longer you recruit somebody... the earlier you identify them as a player you would like to recruit, the better you know them and the better they know you. The chance of success I think would increase in that scenario, but those are the perfect scenarios, they don't always work that way."

A lot of college coaches are starting to show support for an early signing period due to early commitments being hounded by other programs after they verbal. Coach Petercuskie believes that an early signing period could be extremely beneficial.

I think it's something that is worthy," he stated. "It definitely should be in discussion. You have young guys who, once they've committed, would sign in December if they are ready to do so.

"Kids tend to camp in June and July and recruiting slows down a little during the season. However, by December, right around the junior college signing period, there is an 'X' amount of kids committed and more are committing before the first of the year than ever before."

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