Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Why The February Signing Day Has Less Sizzle Now

February 03, 2021

Recruiting never stops and it’s easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.


Well today was a weird feeling, huh?

The first Wednesday in February used to be a holiday for recruiting fanatics. Fans were nervously awaiting hat ceremony decisions. Schools were waiting by the fax machines. Reporters where fueled by caffeine waiting on news to drop. Now it’s become a secondary day that isn’t even covered fully by all the major sports networks.

National Signing Day in February has become a day that holds a lot of interest if you have a new coaching staff. Texas and new coach Steve Sarkisian were busy at work today and added recruits to the Longhorns’ 2021 haul. Unless you have a new staff or are waiting on a 5-star or two the day isn’t very busy.

We don’t even get signing day press conferences anymore. Last year, Nebraska didn’t do one. They won’t have one this year either. Scott Frost will be available on Thursday afternoon. It will be the first time he takes public questions since the end of the season. How we got here to make this day feel odd is a tale of unintended consequences.

The December signing period is now what the February day used to be. That’s when you get all the excitement, tense announcements and anticipation. When the rule was put in place a few years ago a lot of people thought that day would get a large amount of the commits. I didn’t think it would take over this quickly.

Think about Nebraska this recruiting cycle. The team signed 20 high school players in this class. 19 of the 20 were signed in December. Nebraska also added three transfers. 12 of the 23 total additions are already on campus enrolled in classes. They are participating in winter conditioning.

There were two spots remaining for the class. The opportunity for February fireworks was limited. Nebraska was hoping for a commitment from Omaha Westside 4-star defensive back Avante Dickerson. He elected to head to Oregon.

Just because this day isn’t what it once was doesn’t mean change is bad. I’d bet all the coaches that wanted the early signing period would not change a thing. It is a huge weight off their shoulders not having to babysit their commits for an extra six weeks, a time when other schools were typically trying to poach them. In a normal year that extra time can be spent working ahead on the next recruiting class. Normally coaches can be on the road evaluating and even hosting prospects. The dead period prevents that piece currently.

I don’t think players would alter the recruiting calendar now either. It is nice for them to get their commitments formalized early to not be called an extra six weeks. Yes, this day doesn’t have the same sizzle it did just a handful of years ago. In many ways we have just bumped it to December and gotten some nice benefits for players and coaches.

Recruit Watch

>> Omaha Westside cornerback Avante Dickerson made things official with Oregon on Wednesday.

>> Minnesota edge rusher Davon Townley committed to Penn State on Wednesday.

>> Jenks, Oklahoma, standout Grant Lohr committed to walk-on to Nebraska. The athlete is also a Husker legacy.

ICYMI

>> Erin Sorensen and I did a video reaction to the Avante Dickerson news.

>> The Nebraska women’s basketball team is slowly working freshman wing Kendall Coley into the fold.

>> The Mind Your Own podcast is here to remind you that kindness is free with Erin Sorensen and Sausha Durkan.

>> In the latest edition of Padding the Stats Jacob Padilla looks at expectations as Nebraska basketball returns to play.

>> The Hail Varsity staff is back to answer your questions in the mailbag including how you’d build Nebraska in the future EA Sports College Football game.

>> Brandon Vogel took a look into Nebraska attrition rates (Premium) based on how long players are committed.

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