Extension of Dead Period Complicates Recruiting with Early Signing Period Overlap
Wednesday brought a stream of good news for Big Ten football and college basketball fans as the return of the season became official, but the Division I Council also announced the extension of the dead period until January 1 to further complicate what has been a stressful recruiting cycle for the vast majority of high school prospects.
The NCAA first implemented the dead period back on March 13 in response to the coronavirus outbreak back that has since resulted in a 294-day period where prospects are unable to take either official or unofficial visits. While the extension prolongs when prospects will be able to step foot on a college campus in an official capacity, questions now arise around the feasibility of an early signing period beginning December 16. Some prospects, like Florida center Michael Myslinski and Tennessee tackle Jason Amsler, have adapted and taken self-guided tours on campuses like Maryland and others to familiarize themselves with a suitor but the expenses associated with such trips has hindered the widespread ability for all prospects to do so.
For Lackawanna cornerback De'Jahn Warren, his decision is already made as he remains a verbal to Georgia. If visits were possible, Warren would have gladly taken advantage of a free trip to Athens. “I do find it hard but at the end of the day, you got to roll with what the NCAA gives you," he told All Terrapins. "At the end of the day, I did commit and I did feel like that was the place for me.”
An abnormal cycle like 2021 did not impact Maryland as much as other schools as head coach Mike Locksley and the staff took advantage of distance to campus for fifteen of their twenty commits in the class to host them in for visits back in December and January. But the Terps did go far and wide to reel in a handful of commitments and Florida tight end Weston Wolff was among those to make to make it onto campus prior to a decision. The athletic tight end took a trip with his brother, Old Dominion quarterback Hayden Wolff, before deciding and although there’s no wavering, he’d like to make one more return trip.
“I plan on signing in the early signing period,” Wolff previously told All Terrapins. “I’m 100% decided on Maryland but my family would like to get up and see hopefully before January, just hoping to get back up there before I sign.”
Coveted prospects have become accustomed to recruiting through Zoom and FaceTime as modern technology becomes even more assimilated into the recruiting process, but the extended dead period doesn’t just impact prospects with offers. The lack of a true evaluation period in the spring has impacted the attention that uncovered rising senior could once enjoy while the 2022 class and beyond would provide further film for colleges to evaluate, but the cancellation of fall sports across seventeen states has taken away the ability for senior film to move the needle in their recruitments.
“Right now it’s just, recruiting itself for football is very difficult as it is in a normal setting so now dealing with all these circumstances, it’s making it very, very unprecedented to say the least,” Quince Orchard head coach John Kelley told All Terrapins. “I’m hoping their impact can be minimal but it’s really the ‘21s that may be going to a D2 or D1AA school that maybe needed their senior year to evaluate their stuff, they needed the spring or summer time to get to these schools to see them and get on campus in the fall to see things.”
D.C., Maryland and Virginia are among the states that have postponed fall sports into 2021, but an organized 7-on-7 league in Virginia has allowed high school prospects the chance to work on their craft in an organized setting that complies with local health regulations. A rally to reverse Virginia’s decision for fall sports gained momentum last week as parents and student-athletes marched at the State Capital last weekend.
A travel tackle football team was created in Virginia by Patriot associate head coach Obie Woods explained the team’s mission. “We created the VA Spartans football club mainly for juniors and seniors to get some film for colleges,” Woods told NBC Sports. “We had several young men approach us who, when school systems and football was being shutdown, who said, ‘Coach, I have colleges out there that are reaching out and saying I need five games of senior film and I may get the chance to go to college for free.’ And we looked at that and said, ‘Hey, how can we help these young men.’ And that’s how this came about.”