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College football’s new early signing period begins Wednesday

Here goes somethin’.

NCAA Football: Furman at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the new early signing period in college football, which begins Wednesday and runs through Sunday. All college prospects are welcome to sign scholarship papers during this period, but they don’t have to: they can wait until the usual early-February signing day to put a pledge in writing.

Nobody’s quite sure how this early signing period will affect recruiting strategy or the recruiting landscape down the road, but these next few days should give us an idea about how coaching staffs plan to handle it. It’s also unclear how the recruits themselves are going to respond. For example, does the majority of NC State’s 2018 class sign in the next few days? Half of it? Certainly the kids who plan on enrolling early will have no qualms doing so, but what about the rest?

I have a feeling this new signing period will benefit a mid-level power-five program like NC State, but it’s hard to tell. In the past, January has been a busy month of visits, commitments, and dominoes falling. State has a lot of three-star types committed—as it does every year—and these are the kids who can pull late offers from bigger name programs that miss out on their first choices. If those kids are locked in early, then there’s no need to worry about any late shenanigans like that.