With this year being the first edition of the early signing period where recruits can be signed to college football programs before Christmas rather than the first Wednesday in February, 2018 was bound to produce some surprises.
One surprise, at least at the FCS level, is the apparent difference in strategy based on geography.
UND’s class of 20 is massive in comparison to Big Sky Conference foes. UND’s 20 kids was easily the biggest group.
Montana State had 16 players, while Montana had 15.
Weber State and Northern Colorado didn’t announce one kid. None. I didn’t see that coming.
After I saw Weber didn’t announce anyone today, I looked around at the Big Sky and really it wasn’t that far off the norm.
Portland State had two, Cal Poly and Northern Arizona had four, Sacramento State had five, Southern Utah and Idaho State had six, Eastern Washington had eight, UC Davis had 10 and Idaho had 12.
Weber State coach Jay Hill had some comments in his local paper explaining the lack of a signing day. He pointed to the team’s playoff run eating up recruiting time, a limited amount of roster turnover and the fact that some walk-ons had earned scholarships during the playoff run.
His other point was probably the biggest. He said a lot of the guys he’s recruiting are waiting on FBS offers, so they’re waiting for the trickle down.
UND could never handle the early signing period that way because they’d get killed in the Midwest.
South Dakota signed just 13 but North Dakota State (24) and South Dakota State (21) had classes on size par with UND.
So what do people think are the reasons for the huge difference between the Dakota schools (and Montanas, I suppose) and the rest of the Big Sky Conference?
Do fewer players in the Midwest blur the FCS/FBS line? Do the Dakota schools do a better job locking up kids early through elite summer camps? I’m curious what people think.