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Early signing period primer for Kentucky Wildcats

Here’s some need-to-know info

Jeremy Chisenhall

The early signing period begins next Wednesday, Dec. 20 and it sounds like Mark Stoops and Co. will look to lock up as many of their commitments as possible.

“This is the first time we’ve gone through this. It is different. So we’ll see. I anticipate signing a majority of the class and that’s the way we’re approaching it now. I would like to keep a couple [scholarships],” Stoops told the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The new signing period, which will be open from Wednesday until Friday, Dec. 22, has caused some confusion with recruits, coaches, and many others involved in the world of football recruiting.

Quarterbacks Coach and Co-Offensive Coordinator Darin Hinshaw told the Herald-Leader that there have been several myths circulating regarding the early signing period.

Hinshaw said that the early signing period does not mean that the player has to enroll early or is only for early enrollees; instead, it is a way to go ahead and lock in a scholarship and end the recruiting process.

The Wildcats coaches have been working on getting the word out about the signing period and what it means and doesn’t mean. For some, it has even meant informing them that an early signing period does exist.

“A lot of high school coaches weren’t even aware of the early signing day,” Kentucky Recruiting Coordinator and Tight Ends Coach Vince Marrow told the Herald-Leader. “It blew me away.”

Here’s a look at UK’s current class heading into Wednesday:

Kentucky Football Class of 2018 Signees

NAME Position LOCATION HT WT 247 Composite Star Rating
NAME Position LOCATION HT WT 247 Composite Star Rating
Marquan McCall OL Oak Park, MI 6'3" 323 4 stars
Darian Kinnard OL Cleveland, OH 6'6" 315 4 stars
Christopher Oats LB Winton Woods, OH 6'4" 215 4 stars
Kavosiey Smoke RB Wetumpka, AL 6'0" 205 3 stars
Nick Lewis OL Jacksonville, FL 6'9" 348 3 stars
LiAllen Dailey WR Pinson, AL 6'3" 196 3 stars
Brenden Bates TE Cincinnati, OH 6'5" 220 3 stars
Keaton Upshaw TE Lima, OH 6'7" 230 3 stars
Jerquavion Mahone DT Manchester, GA 6'3" 299 3 stars
Kenneth Horsey OL Sanford, FL 6'4" 315 3 stars
Terry Wilson QB Garden City, KS 6'3" 200 3 stars
Ashtan Pierre ATH Deerfield Beach, FL 6'2" 193 3 stars
Jamari Brown DB Pompano Beach, FL 6'2" 185 3 stars
Stanley Garner DB Fort Lauderdale, FL 6'3" 180 3 stars
Bryce Oliver WR Fort Lauderdale, FL 6'3" 205 3 stars
Chris Rodriguez RB McDonough, GA 6'0" 200 3 stars
Akeem Hayes ATH Hollywood, FL 5'9" 160 3 stars
DeAndre Square LB Detroit, MI 6'1" 196 3 stars
Domonique Williams DB Highland, KS 5'11" 185 3 stars
Chance Poore K Anderson, SC 6'3" 198 3 stars
Quintin Wilson OL Cincinnati, OH 6'3" 290 3 stars
Davoan Hawkins DE Hollywood, FL 6'4" 252 3 stars
Marvin Alexander WR Hollywood, FL 6'2" 175 3 stars
Max Duffy K/P Kensington 6'1" 176 No stars

As for now, it is unsure what the early signing period could be like. There is something appealing about players signing with their friends and teammates in February with press conferences and celebrations at their schools.

Many guys could wait around until then, even if they are confident in their decision, just to take part in the tradition and pageantry of National Signing Day. Others may decide to go ahead and lock down their commitments in December so they don’t have to deal with the hassle of constant questions and speculations between December and February.

Bud Elliott at SB Nation also brought up an interesting point about the early signing period. Coaching changes could really throw a wrench in the process of the early signing period.

The refrain will be that a prospect should be signing “with a school, not a coach,” but that’s not what happens in most cases. A prospect signs with the staff that has formed the best relationship with him. A player trusts a certain coach, values that relationship, and wants to play in the scheme run by that coach.

Letters of intent are usually binding, and a coaching change is not something that can be used as an out clause. The NCAA has been silent as to any exceptions or out clauses afforded to prospects who sign early. Unless addressed, this sets up to be a huge mess.Then there are some schools that will want to see improved test scores/grades before officially signing a player. These decisions certainly could factor in with several schools, and those players may end up waiting until February to officially sign.

Hopefully Kentucky can lock down at least a good portion of their class going into February and eliminate some of the drama and rumors leading up to the February National Signing Day.

The February Signing Period begins on Feb. 7.

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