NCAA Football News

College Football Won't Have an Early Signing Period, for Now

College football's hierarchy opted to sideline discussions about an early signing period Wednesday morning, leaving the issue in limbo for at least another year.

While many anticipated the approval of a proposed three-day December signing window, the Collegiate Commissioners Association won't make a decision that impacts this current class of rising high school seniors:

If approved, the proposal would've permitted class-of-2016 prospects to sign a national letter of intent with college programs of their choice from Dec. 16-18. That's seven weeks shy of the national signing day college football fans have become accustomed to following on the first Wednesday of February.

The opportunity to sign early isn't an alien concept in NCAA sports. Basketball, baseball and lacrosse athletes are among those who are already allowed to seal the deal months in advance.

It's been a hot-button issue for years among college football administrators, coaches, prospects and reporters:

It can be difficult to find common ground on the subject among folks who cover recruiting from afar. Perhaps it shouldn't have come as a surprise to see those on the inside also struggle to reach a solidified solution.

The issue was weighed by commissioners from all 10 FBS conferences, with an anticipated vote occurring before noon Wednesday. Ratification would've locked in a two-year trial and 2017 follow-up evaluation.

Momentum seemed to be trending toward that result.

"I anticipate it to pass, but I also anticipate a robust and spirited debate," Mid-American Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher told Jeremy Crabtree of ESPN earlier this week. "With the two-year look-in that's part of the proposal, I think many of us are ready to say, 'Let's move forward or not move forward. Let's get away from being in limbo.'"

Instead, a resolution remains elusive:

Some argue the December signing period simply isn't early enough. It would be better served in late summer, so recruits can take care of collegiate matters before the start of their senior seasons.

However, this time table would certainly necessitate further alterations to the recruiting calendar, like an earlier starting point for official campus visits (beginning spring of junior year, perhaps?) and wiggle room for athletes who've signed a letter of intent with programs that undergo coaching changes later in the year.

For some, the solution is much simpler—tear it all down and start fresh:

Concern from both ends of the spectrum is understandable. Some see the current recruiting system as a circus that would become even crazier with another signing period thrown into the equation.

We perennially watch a collection of recruits commit to at least three different schools during the process, though that is and should remain their prerogative.

Verbal commitments are nonbinding. Things get trickier when teenagers put pen to paper.

There's plenty for collegiate commissioners to sort through during the next 12 months, and they must be diligent here. It should be high priority for them to seek out input from players who've already experienced a modern-day recruitment, gauging what works, what doesn't and what could be a welcome addition to the process.

In the end, these efforts will require some give and take from both sides of the argument, and a two-year trial run isn't a bad way to approach the situation. There simply seems to be too much demand for an early signing period from college programs and prospects for something not to get done down the road.

The implementation of an early signing period is just a matter of time. Clearly, we aren't there yet.

The short-term result of Wednesday's announcement is how it impacts this current recruiting class. The latest crop of college prospects must still wait until February to formally sign, which is likely to induce mixed emotions from players who've kept tabs on the possibility of an early period.

"Honestly, in my opinion, I feel like it's a good thing," top-ranked 2016 safety Brandon Jones told Bleacher Report in April. "It gives players who know for sure where they want to go the luxury of just being able to focus on that one school and do what they can earlier on to get a spot on the field in college."

Naturally, as in all discussions on this matter, there's a counterpoint.

"I disagree with the early signing, because what if you sign early and you change your mind? There's no way you can get out of it," All-American defensive tackle Marvin Wilson told Bleacher Report. "Athletes should look into their options as long as possible so they can see what's best for them."

Ultimately, determining what's best for student-athletes is supposed to fall into the hands of college football's leaders. Clearly, they weren't comfortable making the case for what is currently on the table and the repercussions that would follow an approval.

Perhaps they will be next year. Until then, the debate continues.


Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Damon Sayles contributed to this article.

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Surprises and Disappointments for Alabama's 2016 Recruiting Class

The Alabama Crimson Tide have been a recruiting powerhouse for many years now. In terms of their 2016 cycle, what do they need to improve on and what are they doing well? 

Bleacher Report's College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down the Alabama class in the video above. 

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Notre Dame Football: 5 Freshmen Who Could Make Instant Impacts

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame football’s incoming freshmen arrived on campus over the last week, and summer classes began Monday.

With the full ensemble in town, let’s take a look at five true freshmen who could make immediate impacts on the field for the Irish in 2015.

The Irish have welcomed 23 freshmen to the mix, including the four early enrollees who have already logged their first semesters.


Justin Yoon

Specialists aren’t usually the flashiest members of a recruiting class, but Notre Dame kicker Justin Yoon is likely the most important rookie to suit up for the Irish in 2015.

With Kyle Brindza gone, Yoon will take over the placekicking duties. Tabbed as the No. 2 kicker in the country, Yoon will step right into the spotlight in the season opener against Texas.

“The thing that stood out was his strength and accuracy,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said on national signing day. “He's a hockey player, as well, and gave up hockey to concentrate this year strictly on his kicking, and I think he proved himself pretty good in the All-Star games this year. But I think you'll see him as being one of the real stars in this class in terms of impacting right away.”

Yoon buried three field goals in the Under Armour All-American Game in January, including a 47-yarder.


Jerry Tillery

Early enrollee defensive lineman Jerry Tillery took to college quickly, standing out in spring practice and even studying abroad in South Africa recently with seven of his teammates.

At 6’6.5”, 300 pounds, Tillery has the natural ability to provide value on the defensive line amid a cluster of options for new defensive line coach Keith Gilmore. Kelly highlighted the Shreveport, Louisiana, native as an early story of the spring, praising the rookie’s technique with his hands, among other traits.

Tillery earned first-team reps during spring ball, and he could be counted on as a rotation player in 2015, even when nose tackle Jarron Jones (foot) returns to full form.


Alize Jones

Tight end Alize Jones arrives with plenty of hype at a position without proven past production for Notre Dame.

Irish redshirt sophomore Durham Smythe is at the front of the line to replace NFL draftee Ben Koyack, while Tyler Luatua, Nic Weishar, Chase Hounshell and Mike Heuerman could factor into the mix, as well.

Jones, the No. 1 tight end in his class and the No. 62 overall player in the country, is a pass-catching tight end. He whetted the appetite of Irish fans in the spring with videos of one-handed snags.

“He will be a threat catching the football,” Kelly said on signing day. “You will not be able to put a linebacker on him. You're going to have to use a safety to cover Jones.”


Shaun Crawford

The Irish receive a definitive boost with cornerback KeiVarae Russell’s return. However, Notre Dame is still unproven at the position beyond Russell and returning starter Cole Luke.

Freshman cornerback Shaun Crawford could compete for playing time in the secondary with the likes of fellow corners Devin Butler and Nick Watkins. Even if he doesn’t crack the sub-package rotation, the athletic Ohio native is not far away from the two-deep.

It’s also worth noting Kelly mentioned Crawford’s “dynamic” return ability on signing day.


Brandon Wimbush

Freshman quarterback Brandon Wimbush might not take a single snap in 2015, but the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback and No. 45 player in his class isn’t as far down the depth chart now that Everett Golson has departed for Florida State.

Quarterback DeShone Kizer, who redshirted last season, enters his second year in the system. Wimbush arrived on campus this past weekend.

“We have to prepare him as if he could compete and has to be ready to compete,” Kelly said last week. “I don’t think we have the luxury that we look at him and say, ‘Alright, you’re a redshirt. Don’t worry about it.’ It clearly is a different situation [than with Kizer last year].

“I think we have to find out what he will know when we throw it at him the first time," Kelly added. "And what he can absorb is gonna be important to see over the next couple of weeks.”

Though he may not see the field in 2015, Wimbush’s proximity to the top of the depth chart and the overall lack of experience at the quarterback position warrants a mention.


Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting stats and information courtesy of and all quotes obtained firsthand. Star ratings reflect 247Sports composite rankings. 

Mike Monaco is the lead Notre Dame writer for Bleacher Report. Follow @MikeMonaco_ on Twitter.

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Surprises and Disappointments for Ohio State's 2016 Recruiting Class

The Ohio State Buckeyes have long been a recruiting heavyweight, and the 2016 cycle has been no different.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down what has gone both right and wrong for the Buckeyes' recruiting class thus far.


Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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8 Players We Want to See at SEC Media Days

SEC Media Days—and the unofficial kickoff to the college football season—are right around the corner, and several SEC stars will stroll through the Hyatt Regency Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama, in mid-June to preview the upcoming season.

The conference finalized the schedule for the four-day extravaganza this week, so now fans know which schools will be making the rounds on each day.

The three players each school will bring won't be finalized until the week or two prior to the event, but why wait? 

Here are the players who must come to Media Days based on talent, personal story and national intrigue.

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12 Best Comeback Games in College Football History

We’ve all experienced it, for better or for worse. You’re watching your favorite college football team, and everything’s going perfect. You have a huge lead with time running low, and the opponent scores a touchdown. Then another. Then, they recover an onside kick, drive down the field and ruin your week (and maybe the season) with a magical, stunning comeback victory. Or, maybe that comeback makes your year, or more, depending on the opponent.

Comebacks are part of college football lore, and although they’re less stressful when you’re not emotionally involved in the game, they can be incredibly fun to watch.

Here’s a look at 12 of the best comebacks in college football history. Consideration was given for the size of deficit overcome, as well as the importance of the game. Every game covered here involved a deficit of at least 20 points.

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Georgia Football: 10 Best Players in Bulldogs History

The Georgia Bulldogs have been playing football since 1892, which means there have been a lot of players that have worn the red jersey and sliver britches (or white britches, depending on the coach). So a list of the 10 best Bulldogs of all time would be difficult to produce, right?

It’s not an easy task, but fans love to debate who the best players in the history of college football programs are. And when coming up with a list like this, there are many factors to consider, such as on-field production, team success during a player's tenure and how much of a lasting impact they made. There are more than 20 Bulldogs notable for all three of those things, but 10 stood out more than the rest.

So here’s a look at the 10 best players in the history of Georgia Bulldogs football. And if the list is not in your favor, please don’t kill the messenger.  

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