High School Sports

Some of South Florida’s elite aren’t waiting for National Signing Day. Is this the new norm?

Champagnat defensive end Gregory Rousseau (5) is expected to be one of the at least 13 commitments expected to sign with the Miami Hurricanes on Wednesday.
Champagnat defensive end Gregory Rousseau (5) is expected to be one of the at least 13 commitments expected to sign with the Miami Hurricanes on Wednesday. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Usually you don’t see the old cap switch or other National Signing Day drama for another six weeks or so.

That may change Wednesday bright and early.

While high school football recruits have enrolled early with colleges for years, for the first time this year, players will get a chance to sign letters of intent in December.

The signing period begins Wednesday and lasts through Friday and allows recruits to seal their commitments early and universities to avoid losing recruits to other schools due to coaching changes or other factors should they decommit before National Signing Day, which is scheduled for Feb. 7.

“It helps every team in America know what they have at this point and what they need to focus on the last few weeks of recruiting,” UM coach Mark Richt said.

As far as the athletes themselves, it allows them to truly end the recruiting process early and end the flood of texts, calls, letters and visits that in some cases begins as early as the eighth grade.

It remains to be seen what long-term benefits and detriments the new rule, implemented by the NCAA in April, will end up having on the recruiting process.

“We’ll see,” Richt said. “Obviously, it’s 7 am [Wednesday] when everybody is in their time zone they can start doing it. So, who’s going to be the first guy in the history of the NCAA to send in his name? We’ll find out.”

The Hurricanes are expected to be one of the big winners of the early signing period with at least 13 of their 20 commitments expected to sign on Wednesday.

Among them are Champagnat defensive end Gregory Rousseau, Carol City running back Camron Davis, Coral Gables cornerback Gilbert Frierson, Southridge wide receivers Mark Pope, Daquris Wiggins and guard Delone Scaife as well as South Dade cornerback DJ Ivey and defensive end Patrick Joyner.

At least four prominent recruits are expected to sign with FIU on Wednesday as well.

Champagnat linebacker Donovan Georges, Nova linebacker Shaun Peterson, Booker T. Washington wide receiver Zahir Turner and Stranahan athlete Marquel Dillard.

Southridge defensive tackle Randy Charlton is also deciding between FIU, Indiana and Syracuse.

Deerfield Beach will have nine players sign including linebacker Rosendo Louis, an FSU commit.

Northwestern will have several signees including recent transfer James Cook, who is committed to Georgia.

Louisville, which has had success mining local talent in recent years, is expected to sign a few local players early including Carol City defensive end Yasiir Abdullah and Miami Central’s duo of cornerback Chandler Jones and linebacker Robert Hicks.

Some of the most prominent schools such as St. Thomas Aquinas and American Heritage will have either most or all its players wait until February to sign.

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