College football’s early signing period was such a formality going into this past year, but now that it is official, many local players took advantage. After an NCAA panel signed off on the idea earlier in 2017, the Collegiate Commissioners Association – a committee of league commissioners – gave the new signing period the green light. The early signing period went into effect this year for high school football players, making the Class of 2018 recruits the first to have the choice of using it.
The signing period lasted 72 hours, beginning Dec. 20 and running through Dec. 22. Players had the choice of whether to sign in December or wait until the signing period that starts on the first Wednesday of February and runs until April 1.
Players that choose to sign early in the school year could take official visits after their senior year of high school began, as has been a standing NCAA policy. For future years, the official visit period is slated to move up to April during players’ junior years. Athletes sign the National Letter of Intent (NLI), which binds them to the school for one academic year in return for one year of financial aid.
Some fun facts include: the NLI is a contract with the school – not the coach. If the coach leaves the university, the athlete is still under contract with that school. Men’s and women’s soccer and men’s water polo do not have an early signing period. As a general rule, NCAA DIII schools do not have to use the NLI, but most do. Each NAIA schools use their own versions of the NLI and it is not the same as those used by NCAA schools. The NLI is also referred to as the “Letter of Intent” or “LOI”; they are the same thing.
Last week a handful of the Inland area’s top high school football players sent off their NLI’s including Murrieta Valley Nighthawk receiver Marquis Spiker, who set Inland career records for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns all before his final game of the season. Spiker signed with the University of Washington and was 1 of 9 players from the area to sign with Pac-12 Conference schools.
Here is a list of other area football players that were expected to sign during the early period.
Justin Dedich – Chaparral High School, OL – USC
Brennan Jackson – Great Oak, DL – Washington State
Steven Jones – Chaparral, OL – Oregon
Jack Lamb – Great Oak, LB – Notre Dame
Jeff Miller – Murrieta Mesa, QB – Towson
Phillip Mills – Paloma Valley, DB – Boise State
Jaime Navarro – Great Oak, OL – San Jose State
Chance Nolan – Paloma Valley, QB – Middle Tennessee
Anthony Pardue – Murrieta Valley, OL – San Jose State
Khalil Shakir – Vista Murrieta, WR – Boise State
Marquis Spiker – Murrieta Valley, WR – Washington