National Signing Day is around the corner, here’s what you need to know

via @uhcougarfb

The confetti has settled after one of the most exciting games in recent Cougar football history. With not just one, but two strong quarterbacks, one of the nation’s leading defenses and Tom Herman at the helm, it’s easy for the red & white loyal to get comfortable in the offseason. Although numerous student athletes will return for the 2016-2017 season, graduating seniors and athletes declaring for the NFL draft are just a couple of factors that can create gaps within the team. These elements​,​ combined with the fact that a team should always be growing and progressing​,​ exemplify why recruiting is so important. With the Coogs making headlines, more and more high school players looking to build their future are considering calling Houston home (if they don’t already).

Recruiting is a complex process with rules and timelines in place to make the process fair and smooth. New football fans may come across all of the different terminology and the lingo might be a bit confusing. Below is a brief breakdown of some of the most common terms you’ll hear as a fan, summarized from the NCAA’s official rules:

Recruiting Calendar

The four periods of time that identify interaction guidelines for both coaches and universities and high school prospects. ​The four periods are broken down as follows:

Contact period – A college coach may ​speak to and ​meet with college-bound athletes and their parents, in addition to attending the prospect’s games and high school campus.

Evaluation period – The prospect’s games may be attended by a college coach, and the coach may contact the prospect and their parents via writing or telephone. However, no in-person contact is allowed.

Quiet period – A student athlete may not be visited by a college coach in person, and the coach may not attend the prospect’s games or school. Only interaction with the student athlete and their parents via phone or writing is permitted.

Dead period – Same rules as listed in the quiet period apply during a dead period.

Other Terms

Commitment – If you take a glance at the current status of high school recruits on something like ESPN’s football recruiting scoreboard, you’ll notice that at this point in time, most players are ‘committed’ to a school. This means that the player has verbally agreed to play for a certain program, but is not yet set in stone with a written agreement.

Campus Visits – There are both official and unofficial campus visits. An official visit occurs when a college pays for a prospect to visit the school, including transportation and lodging. An unofficial visit is when a student athlete and their parents visit a campus and pay for the visit themselves.

National Letter of Intent – A signed, written agreement solidifying an athlete’s commitment to a college for one academic year. Once signed, other colleges may no longer recruit the player. Although the player may not be pursued by other schools at the point of signing, a student athlete may appeal the letter if they decide to attend another school. This results in one year of ineligibility.

Two Weeks Away

​The NCAA’s official signing day is two weeks away (February 3rd) and now you know enough to drop some knowledge with the most hardcore Coog fans.

In addition to this brief outline of Division I recruiting, there are even more specific guidelines based on a high school athlete’s seniority, the number of contacts and visits permitted, and more. If you’re interested in reading further, there’s more info on NCAA regulations and terminology here.

Where the Coogs 2016 Class Currently Stands

The Houston 2014 football recruiting class, the final recruiting class of the Tony Levine era, was ranked #78 in the nation. That class had two recruits listed at three-star or above out of a total of 24 commitments. By contrast the 2016 class, Herman’s first full recruiting cycle at Houston, the Coogs now have commitments from a five-star, three four-stars, and ten three-star recruits.

247Sports has the Coogs at 26th in the country, Rivals.com currently has the Coogs ranked at 28th in the country, and Scout has Houston at 37th. If you thought Tom Herman did a good job with Tony Levine’s recruits just wait until the 2016 class gets on the field.

More on Houston’s 2016 class from TexasFootball here.