USA Today Sports/Jake Roth

Recruiting notes: In-state production & the future of LOI Signing Day

THE AGE-OLD BROMIDE that the state of Washington typically produces 15 to 25 major-conference football players per year has held true for the 2017 recruiting cycle.

Per The Seattle Times’ tracking (which you can find here), the state yielded 15 who signed scholarship offers with major schools (16 counting Richland’s Dontae Powell, a longtime WSU verbal commit who is believed to have some academic hurdles to clear before becoming official).

If Powell officially comes on board, WSU will have signed four in-staters; the others being RB Caleb Perry of King’s, OT Abraham Lucas of Archbishop Murphy and Kelle Sanders of River Ridge.

The rest of the majors list broke down this way: six to Washington, two to Stanford, and on each to Cal (Ben Moos), Oregon State, TCU and BYU.

On the Times’ list, you’ll notice three other names assigned to Washington State. Kicker Ryan Henderson of Archbishop Murphy and offensive lineman Brian Greene of Eisenhower will be a preferred walk ons at WSU, and running back Collin Montez of Archbishop Murphy is headed to WSU to play baseball.

WEDNESDAY’S NATIONAL letter-of-intent Signing Day very likely marked the end of an era. And good thing too. Barring something unforeseen, the NCAA this spring will approve a proposal to add a 72-hour early signing period in December of each year. That won’t eliminate the fanfare around the traditional, first-Wednesday-in-February signing day, but it will take some of the circus out of the process.

As Ralph Russo of The Associated Press explained the other day: “The hope is to create more transparency and certainty in a system that currently has nonbinding offers and commitments as its foundation.

So look for the flipping trend to mitigate. As much as it benefited Washington State with the late addition of receiver Jamire Calvin, don’t forget that WSU had a whopping 13 verbal pledges in this recruiting cycle sign on the dotted line somewhere else. Cougfan premium forum columnist Josh Davis wrote an interesting round up about it all today that can be found here.

This isn’t a one-way street, either. Players would benefit because there likely would be greater clarity in the nature of each offer. Is it contingent on no one else at the position verbally committing first? If I don’t hear from a staff in three weeks does that mean my offer has disappeared?

Larry Stone of The Seattle Times wrote a column today suggesting that the NCAA go a step farther than what is planned in December and do away with signing periods and signing days completely:

I’d be in favor of an idea I first saw proposed by Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples and later advocated by coaches such as Rich Rodriguez of Arizona, Bo Pelini of Youngstown State (when he was at Nebraska) and Paul Johnson of Georgia Tech. Namely, doing away with signing day. What sounds preposterous on the surface starts to make sense the more you delve into it. If you want a player, you make him an offer, no matter when it is. If he wants your school, he accepts it. End of transaction. None of the shenanigans that sully the recruiting soap opera now — at least in theory.

I don’t know that there’s a perfect answer, but I do know that all the time, effort and money that goes into recruiting yields shockingly little stability as the final weeks of the cycle unfold. Coaches – particularly those outside the traditional blue bloods – are grappling with an ever-moving target and the student-athletes are bombarded with "salesmen" trying to woo them over to their product. To a certain degree, it’s a self-fulfilling madhouse. Play the game and endure the craziness, don’t play the game and wind up with second-tier athletes.

Whether the December early signing period is a panacea remains to be seen, but the view from this chair is that it is a step in the right direction.


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