NCAA Dead Period Extended Through April 2021

SI All-American

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect a myriad of variables in the world, and college football recruiting is indeed among them. 

On Wednesday evening, the NCAA confirmed what has become an expectation this year in regards to the longstanding dead period status in recruiting -- another extension. 

There are to be no in-person visits, evaluations or one-on-one time of any kind in the recruiting game until April 15, 2021. 

The class of 2021, currently seniors at the prep level, have long felt the pinch in trying to make an informed decision without making traditional visits to campus from an intrapersonal, geographical and financial perspective. Several seniors hoped for a brief window in January to allow acclimation, but that is not out the window. 

It means the virtual visits and communication will be the furthest extent in which college coaches can participate. 

"In person you get to do more of what you want," uncommitted senior Marcus Mbow said. "On virtual, they show you what they show you. You get to see the good and the bad in person but online they show you just the good stuff."

The class of 2022, current juniors, have felt the compromise from an exposure and identification standpoint. This ensures more of the same through the springtime at a minimum. 

The Dead Period extension through April all but eliminates late-January, February and March Junior Days that schools and college coaches like to hold on campus, often a first impression for both parties. Some staffs like to have open invitations to their Junior Day for all prospects, while some staffs prefer it be a private event where they only invite elite prospects high on their board, in an effort to spend more time with players they truly want. Either way, these events will not take place - at least until mid-April or early-May, if the NCAA lifts the Dead Period.

Unofficial visits also will not be an option for 2022 prospects until further notice. For schools who put a lot of effort in out-of-state recruiting, such as Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Clemson, Tennessee and even the approach Arizona State has taken recently, this is a blow. The ability to get prospects on your campus as early as possible and as often as possible is imperative. 

A "virtual visit" can only do so much, whereas a recruit being able to visit and see the campus, facilities, meeting rooms, weight room, locker room, stadium, community, up close and in person can be the difference in a decision.

"Not being able to attend junior days and visits will hurt, and probably slow down my decision to make sure I choose the right school for me," says 2022 LB Andrew Morris of Gilbert (Ariz.) Mesquite. Morris already has garnered attention from several Pac-12 schools, and has an early offer from New Mexico.

Morris added, "I planned on attending a few college camps on the East Coast at some ACC schools to expand my options and to be recognized so that’s going to also hurt..." 

All underclassmen will feel the impact of Wednesday's announcement, which the NCAA attributed to negative trends with COVID-19 cases nationally, but there will be "more flexibility" in which coaches can participate in the virtual recruiting process. 

The impact is felt throughout the prospective student-athlete spectrum, from those attempting to get on major radar to those fortunate enough to have been there for a year like class of 2023 Gardendale (Ala.) defensive end Kelby Collins. 

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John Garcia Jr.
John Garcia Jr.

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One of the top uncommitted recruits in America sums it up


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