PROVO — National Letter of Intent Day comes early this season for college football programs — at least one of the signing periods. The NCAA added a December signing period this year, with the first opportunity to officially commit to programs coming Dec. 20-22.
BYU coaches have adjusted to the two signing periods, according to BYU coach Kalani Sitake, who addressed what the early signing period entails during Monday's press conference.
"I don't know if it presents any challenges, other than the guys you want to take — you lock them up as soon as you can," Sitake said. "There are guys we know who have been committed for a long time, so I think it just speeds up the process for them. It allows them to have a nice Christmas break without too many distractions."
BYU has 19 current commitments to sign, according to Cougarnation.com, which is part of the rivals national recruiting network. How many of those 19 will send in letters between Dec. 20-22 isn't known, although coaches anticipate most of those who have verbally committed will not wait until the February signing period.
"We'll see ... If we can sign them all, then let's do it," Sitake said. "But recruiting is a difficult thing to predict, especially when you have guys redshirting or applying for a redshirt. So you have to weigh all those options."
As far as pursuing any junior college transfers, Sitake said it's a possibility.
"We look at everybody, so I don't know if it's any different now than it's been in the past, but we always have the issue with academics first," Sitake said. "So admissions is the number one key for us and a good number of JUCO players go there for academic reasons, so sometimes it doesn't match up. But there are others who just need a shot and need to be recognized, but have the grades to get into school. So that's what we're balancing right now."