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Early Signing Period Preview

What Happens, What to Expect This Week

NCAA Football: National Signing Day Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday is the beginning of the Early Signing Period(tm)! Here’s an overview of what’s going on and what to expect over the coming week ahead.

Recruiting Correspondent is a unique position for the Corn Nation staff. There is no “season”, no opponents to preview, no postgame recaps. I get to sell and spin way more than other guys. If the right offensive tackle, say, gave up the most quarterback hurries of any offensive lineman in the entire conference, Hoss or Husker Mike or Fearless Leader Jon have to talk about what went wrong and why. I get to talk about how this can be a recruiting sell - “One enticement was Bryce Benhart could start as a freshman!” Recruiting articles have a sales and spin aspect to them. I try to point out a fault or two for every player if I can just to temper expectations a tiny bit, but every player could be “the guy” that’s going to make the Huskers BEST TEAM EVARRRR! If a player ends up buried in the 2-deep, no one ever comes back and says “DAWG! You said Wandale Robinson was going to win 3 Heisman’s! He only won 2! What gives???” There’s always the next big thing everyone’s looking at. Recruiting is about optimism and the future. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy stalking underage boys on the internet so much.

Contact Periods and Dead Periods

Division 1 schools are currently in the Dead Period. This means no face-to-face contact between coaches and recruits, and no visits to recruit’s homes or schools. Phone conversations and text messages are allowed. This status is in effect until January 10. Official definitions of contact period, dead period, etc can be found here. The NCAA calendar with all the important dates is here.

Early Signing Period Expectations

Nebraska has 22 commits as of the typing of this article. 21 of them are expected to sign during the early signing period. The lone holdout is JUCO lineman Desmond Bland, who has not proven his academic eligibility as of yet. That situation will be tracked and updated as needed in future articles. Overall this should be a fairly low-drama signing day. There are two, possibly three big early signing day decisions to keep everyone hitting the f5, however.

Jimmy Fritzsche is a lineman project that Nebraska has been in on for awhile. Clemson offered Friday, which has complicated this recruitment, as he lives 45 minutes from the Clemson campus. Nebraska has told him that if he wants to be N, he has to sign Wednesday. Clemson told him he can wait until February. If he doesn’t sign during the early signing period, the coaches will probably have to look for another tackle prospect in January.

Blue-chipper defensive back Noa Pola-Gates is a potential signing day decision. Noa wasn’t planning on announcing his decision publicly until the Polynesian Bowl, and may not sign until February now. This evolving situation does not hurt Nebraska’s chances at getting Noa’s signature. One selling point Nebraska is pushing is the opportunity to play with his cousin Matthew Pola-Mao, a four-star defensive tackle prospect. Nebraska is the only place this opportunity exists; no other team has tendered committable offers to both players.

The other signing day decision to watch is four star defensive end Ty Robinson. He is choosing between Nebraska, Oregon, Alabama and USC. Nebraska had the last in-home visit with Ty, and sent the entire coaching staff to his home in a “swarm” visit. This one is looking good for the Huskers.

One last signing day possibility is Brant Banks. His top two are Baylor as an offensive guard or Nebraska as a defensive end. The Baylor writers have all backed off their forecasts. Nebraska might take Banks, then move Ethan Piper to another position.

There will be a Early Signing Day Spectacular Spectacular with continuous updates as the faxes com rolling in. Be advised that this signing period is actually three days long, so if there aren’t 25 faxes by noon, don’t start freaking out. That’s my job! See you all Wednesday! GBR!