Everyone needs to understand that the early signing day on December 20th is the new February 7th signing day. Coaches nationally are going to be doing two things before this signing day.
#1—Trying to sign their entire committed class. The coaches are going to try and get every single committed prospect to sign so they can focus on the remaining targets and holes in the class.
You will see a lot of coaching staffs telling verbally committed prospects—well if you don’t sign, are you really committed to us? This is called leverage and college coaches love to use it and abuse it in any way, shape, or form (granted, it is part of the job). You will also see a lot of staffs using the threat of moving on and getting another prospect to sign against committed players or those on the bubble/thinking of going all the way to February 7th for signing day.
In Clemson’s case a verbal commitment is considered a commitment more than other schools so the vast majority of players will sign on the 20th, if not all of the currently committed players.
You will also see coaches (including Clemson coaches) say, “Hey, we only have one RB slot open and if you aren’t going to commit on the 20th...well, we will offer this other player and we can’t guarantee the spot for you like we are right now.”
#2—The other way coaches will act with the new signing period is trying to get prospects who are committed elsewhere or thinking of signing (and not to the coaches school) to delay signing until February 7th.
This is happening all over the country right now. Every school is using this tactic. Fulmer and Pruitt and company parked the caravan at the school of Cade Mays to try and persuade him to not sign this weekend and give the new coaching staff a chance with an official visit in January. Clemson coaches are telling Safety prospect Leon O’Neal Jr. (6’1, 190) of Cy Springs, TX to hold off on a commitment and give Clemson an official.
Coaches are also going to recruits with weak commitments and telling them to wait until February. Clemson has done this with Safety Matthew Hill, an Auburn commitment, who is not a hard commitment at this time. Other schools have tried to get back in with Clemson recruits as well (haven’t seen anything to warrant mentioning though).
It seems pretty basic, but it is a seismic shift in the schedule. Coaches also have to decide whether they want to accept the commitments of players with academic issues (or if they can accept the commitments) much earlier.
With regards to Clemson I expect all of the current commitments to sign, including Trevor Lawrence. With regards to uncommitted prospects I will be following the commitments of Cade Mays, Lyn-J Dixon and KJ Henry.
OL Jamaree Salyer’s recruitment is a big jumble right now (understatement). I have maintained more optimism than most about Salyer and felt a bit like a fool because I’ve had two contacts who maintained up until the week that Salyer didn’t come on an official visit that Clemson was still a player in his recruitment. Much more than folks in the recruiting world knew.
I followed that until the lack of an official visit. Salyer also couldn’t get transportation to campus multiple times, but was able to get to the UGA campus ten plus times. So there are two parts going on. One is whether he signs on the 20th and the other question is how close to being committed to UGA is Salyer.
My read is that Salyer likes Clemson and the coaches, but he has lots of connections and pulls to UGA. UGA makes the most sense at this point. Some in his circle (and here I don’t know how much is the prospect, how much is the family, and how much is the extended camp) feel the need to extend the process to signing day. That has been reported by UGA site folks (and some Clemson sites), which isn’t always a great thing for Clemson because it ratchets up the public pressure to commit on the 20th going into the official visit. I don’t think the UGA coaches were going to be blindsided by this, but the additional coverage can potentially help them.
If Salyer extends it is great news for Clemson, but there is still a ton of work to do to get him on campus and then even more to get him to Clemson. This is a positive sign, but not an indication that Clemson is a legit threat to sign Salyer. However, it speaks to the optimism that my contacts had early in the process and cracks the door open. This coaching staff has done more with smaller cracks.
Other prospects like CB Bookie Radley-Hines will sign at all-star game events(those events are the real losers for commitment announcements and hype, there will still be some guys announcing, but not as much as before).
Let the signing period festivities begin...