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NCAA Football Early Signing Period Official, Starting This Year

Recruits can now sign in December, plus an intriguing podcast interview with Malik Zaire and Tarean Folston’s NFL plans

BK Signing Day

It became official on Monday evening - NCAA football will now give recruits an early signing period before the annual early February National Signing Day.

From December 20th through December 22nd, prospects may sign a Letter of Intent with a program, and this new rule will begin this year, with the class of 2018 able to sign early in December.

This year’s rule on official visits will remain that the players cannot do so until their senior year of high school begins, but all future classes will be able to begin taking official visits in April of their junior year to accommodate for the early signing period.

This rule change could really help some schools and hurt others as things now stand. For example, Stanford typically takes a while to formally accept recruits into the school. The ability to sign early might help schools like Notre Dame, who will be able to lock up recruits before they even know if Stanford is indeed an option, since they have not yet been admitted. This could be huge for the Irish, considering the amount of recruits both schools heavily pursue, and how often Stanford beats ND for those recruits.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

It will be very interesting to see if this early signing period will help schools like Notre Dame in not losing committed prospects down the stretch as well, or if most high-profile prospects will still hold out on final decisions until February anyway.

Nevertheless, it will certainly take away some of the suspense of the first Wednesday in February, as at least some recruits will have already locked themselves into schools with signed Letters of Intent (although, we all know from the Eddie Vanderdoes incident that that still doesn’t necessarily lock these players in).

Malik Zaire Speaks

In a pretty interesting podcast at Irish Sports Talk, Malik Zaire answers lots of questions about his time at ND, where he’s going from here, and even a little about Brian Kelly.

NCAA Football: Texas at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

I know we report on the non-updates of Malik Zaire’s graduate transfer process all the time and it isn’t that interesting to some folks because he’s leaving, but Zaire to me will always be an extremely likable, charismatic kid who just had some really bad luck when things were really looking good for him.

I look forward to seeing what school he chooses (which may or may not happen this month, based on what he said in the interview), and hope he tears it up next season. Malik Zaire is just too damn likable not to root for, and he’s an Irish alum who deserves our support.

Tarean Folston to Washington

We’ve heard about the fate of a lot of Notre Dame undrafted free agents, including Jarron Jones, James Onwualu, and Cole Luke. But Tarean Folston’s potential shot at the pros had not been confirmed yet.

Now, according to Matt Freeman of Irish Sports Daily, Folston will report to the Washington Redskins on Thursday, according to a source.

It appears you need an ISD subscription to read more into this, but Freeman’s tweet alone is good news, as Folston is another ND alum who seemed to just have bad luck when it came to injuries and second string players performing extremely well in his stead.

I hope Folston can find a spot somewhere in the league, as he’s a versatile, powerful back who does all the little things well and can be an asset in the passing game, even if he doesn’t have breakaway speed.