As if one signing day wasn’t nutty enough, college football went ahead and added another.
The new, early period, which takes place Dec. 20-22, could be a benefit for a school like Boise State, which has watched Power Five schools swoop in late in the process and flip recruits as the traditional February signing day approaches.
But it also has a downside.
The Broncos played in the Mountain West championship game Dec. 2, and they play Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 16. That meant coaches hit the road for a few days almost immediately following the win over Fresno State and even squeezed in some recruiting this Monday before the team goes to Las Vegas on Tuesday.
Imagine being one of the eight teams playing in bowl games during the three-day signing period. The Oregonian reported Oregon had planned its “most significant recruiting weekend in program history on Dec. 15,” hosting verbal commitments and potential ones. Well, since the Ducks play the next day, that had to be canceled.
“We don’t have a lot of time,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said.
Coaches also get hired and fired like crazy in December, more than half of the Football Bowl Subdivision teams play in bowl games and postseason attrition could affect teams’ needs in recruiting. The signing day in February, the first Wednesday of the month, remains in place, but delivers its own unknowns as to what might be available.
“I would expect anyone that’s committed to us to sign with us in the early signing period,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio told USA Today. “Otherwise, they probably aren’t really committed is the reality of it.”
That presents a challenge for a school like Boise State. A recruit may hold out hope of a Power Five offer and wait to sign until February, which could create some awkward feelings if that doesn’t materialize.
“You’re probably going to rest a little easier if you have (signed everyone), but that’s not going to happen for anybody I don’t think,” Harsin said. “Everybody will still have a couple things that go on and you’ll still recruit.”
A “dead period” begins Dec. 17, the day after the Las Vegas Bowl, during which coaches cannot have face-to-face contact with recruits, ending Jan. 11. Though Boise State is likely to sign a majority of its 16 known commitments during the early period, a few may wait, thus starting the chase again.
“I think it’s going to be very stressful twice as opposed to very stressful once,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart told USA Today.
BRONCOS LOSE A RUNNING BACK COMMIT
Peoria (Ariz.) Centennial High running back Zidane Thomas has decommitted from Boise State, according to the Arizona Republic. Thomas has rushed for more than 2,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. He recently added offers from Utah and San Diego State.
Boise State lost a commitment from Tulare (California) High standout Kazmeir Allen in August and, after rushing for a national record 72 touchdowns, he recently committed to UCLA. The Broncos have another running back in Chaminade Prep’s Andrew VanBuren, who ran for 1,259 yards and 21 touchdowns for one of California’s best programs.
HEY CEDRICK, YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR
Senior wide receiver Cedrick Wilson ranks No. 6 in the Football Bowl Subdivision in receiving yards (1,290), a total that sits at No. 2 in a single season in Boise State history. He’d pass Thomas Sperbeck’s 2015 total for No. 1 with 123 yards against Oregon.
Wilson also will be a likely NFL draft pick in April. He can help his stock after having accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game, which will take place Jan. 20 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Recent Boise State players who played in the game include center Marcus Henry (2016), offensive tackle Charles Leno (2014), wide receiver Tyler Shoemaker (2012) and defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford.
VETS PRAISE SCOUT TEAM STANDOUTS
Boise State held its annual “Bronco Bowl” on Sunday night, with the scout team players getting to take part in a simulated game in full pads in front of the veterans. The offense was victorious, getting some long catches from walk-on Justin Collins, a redshirting sophomore from Long Beach City College.
On Dec. 3, the team announced its scout team players of the year in Daniel Cantrell (offense), Tyreque Jones (defense) and Roman Kafentzis (special teams). All are true freshmen. Cantrell, a Bishop Kelly High graduate, has worked at long snapper, tight end and running back. Jones is a big safety at 6-foot-2, 183 pounds, and Kafentzis, an outside linebacker, is the gritty sort coaches love.
QB Brett Rypien on Cantrell: “All the defensive guys are raving about him, saying he has unbelievable hands, he’s working his butt off every single day.”
S Kekoa Nawahine on Jones: “He’s a big kid, he always brings a lot of energy to practice. He’s fun to be around and he’s pretty smart for how young he is.”
P Quinn Skillin on Kafentzis: “Roman is a super cool guy, he’s super quiet. He definitely just does his job. ... Those are the guys you hope you get on your team. He gave us a lot of good looks.”
Boise State’s 10 wins gives the Broncos double-digit victories in 15 of the past 19 seasons, tied for most in the FBS with Oklahoma. ... The Broncos are 11-6 in bowl games. ... Harsin received a $50,000 bonus for winning the Mountain Division and $75,000 bonus for winning the conference. His salary is $1.55 million and will increase to $1.65 million next season. ... After the final home practice of the year Sunday, the team carried the seniors off the field. ... Boise State and Oregon each reported more than 4,000 tickets distributed from their allotments of 7,500 as of Monday afternoon.