Friday, February 13, 2015

The Evolution of the Game: The Early Commitment

The first Wednesday in February, more commonly referred to as National Signing Day is the most anticipated day in college football after the National Championship. National Signing Day is when every senior high school football that is recruited signs their letter of intent to finalize the decision on where to play college football. For many of these athletes, their college team of choice was announced months or even years before this anticipated Wednesday as an early commit.
National Letter of Intent. 
Photo courtesy of
A commitment is simply a non-binding oral agreement that can be forgotten in favor of a better offer  or a better fit.1 There are two sides to the early commit: the players and the coaches. What exactly does an early commit mean to these parties? Of recent, it seems as if this “commitment” has no value. The "decommit," or the player who verbally commits to one school and then flips to another, has become much more common in recent years. Every time I’m on Bleacher Report, a digital media company that covers hundreds of teams and sports around the world, it seems to be talking about either how a player has decommitted or how a school has taken away an offer from a recruit. Nowadays, recruiting is defined by last second switches and programs wooing recruits away from other schools, and with the age of athletes receiving offers to play college football declining, the commitment seems to be less important. LSU was the first program to offer a 6’0, 218 pound 8th grader Dylan Moses from Louisiana.2 Moses will graduate from high school in 2017. There is a lot that can happen in those 5 years in between commitment and National Signing Day.
Players are not the only ones not honoring their commitment, the school can be just as guilty. The term “Blanket Recruiting” has been used to describe the enormous amount of offers a school gives to athletes during the recruiting process. Schools such as Alabama, Ohio State and Louisville each gave out over 200 offers to athletes for the singing class of 2015. Mike Farrell describes is as offering a ton of kids and you’re slow-playing the ones you don’t want.3 If a school finds a kid that’s better than a player that plays the same position, they will pull that offer at the last minute.

1Kantor, J. (2015, February 3). Flipping programs: What's the value of a commitment in college football recruiting? Retrieved February 8, 2015.

2Elliot, B. (2012, July 21). LSU Offers 8th-Grader Dylan Moses. Retrieved February 8, 2015.

3Chiang, A. (2014, August 2). Commitment issues: Scholarship offers not always honored by colleges. Retrieved February 8, 2015.

1 comment:

  1. This just happened here at Stephenville when Stidham withdrew his commitment to Texas Tech and chose to sign with Baylor. I bet at times this can be frusterating for the school and the athletes. National Signing Day is always and intriguing day that I look forward to every year. There is always some shocking moments in where some of the top recruits in the nation choose to attend school and play football.