A critical early signing day for Norvell – here’s what to watch

The early signing period begins on Wednesday, allowing high school prospects to sign with their school of choice ahead of the traditional signing period in February.

New Florida State coach Mike Norvell has maximized his week, flying across the state and even going into Georgia to meet the 2020 commitments as well as some who could flip – making a late decision to change their mind and come to Tallahassee. And FSU hosted a large group of prospects last weekend, a final opportunity for them to think about their decisions.

The early signing period has become the new, primary window for prospects to make their decisions. Many are looking to complete the process, ending it so that they can enjoy the holidays and then focus on their final semester of their senior years. Others will sign in December and enroll in college in a few weeks.

What the NCAA created with the early signing period has been a mad dash to the finish line, especially for coaches who are newly hired. And that has been the case in two of the last three years, with Willie Taggart having three weeks to sign a class in December 2017 and now Norvell having just a week.

ESPN analyst Tom Luginbill estimated that 76 percent of the prospects who signed in the 2019 class did so during the December early window. That underscores the challenge Norvell has faced but could also indicate an opportunity is there for the Seminoles in February, too.

“You’ve just been hired, you got to put together a staff, you got to get on the phone, you got to get out on the road,” said Luginbill, who broadcast Norvell’s conference championship game in early December and follows recruiting closely. “But I think the one thing that can be used as a positive is there are going to be guys left on the board in the month of January. And a school like Florida State that has a lot of room is going to be attractive to prospects who decide not to sign in the early signing period.”

FSU has followed this trend in the past few years. In 2018, 14 of the 21 signees made their decisions in December.

The Osceola will have coverage throughout the day on Wednesday, including a look at the signees on offense and defense when their national letters of intent are received. Osceola recruiting analyst Charles Fishbein will also offer his insight on the prospects who sign with FSU. Coach Mike Norvell is also expected to talk with the media at about 4:30 p.m.

With the early signing period beginning in just hours, let’s take a look at where FSU stands:

2020 class: FSU has 13 verbal commitments. The class is ranked 26th by 247Sports and fifth in the ACC. It’s possible that the majority could sign on Wednesday or before the signing window ends on Friday.

Offensive commitments: QB Tate Rodemaker, WR Malachi Wideman, WR Ja’Khi Douglas, RB Lawrance Toafili, C Thomas Shrader, G Zane Herring, T Lloyd Willis, TE Carter Boatwright

Defensive commitments: CB Demorie Tate, S Jadarius McKnight, OLB Stephen Dix Jr., DT Emanuel Rogers, ILB Jayion McCluster

Top uncommitted targets: WR Bryan Robinson, QB Chubba Purdy, RB Daijun Edwards, DE Josh Griffis, DE Morven Joseph

Former FSU commitments: QB Jeff Sims is set to decide between FSU, Maryland and Georgia Tech. Griffis is likely deciding between Louisville and FSU. Joseph is likely choosing from FSU, Florida and Tennessee. G Alex Atcavage has indicated that he will likely put off signing until February.

What else to watch: A few prospects could flip from Memphis to FSU. And it’s possible that a prospect committed to Auburn could choose to follow Kenny Dillingham, who was the Tigers’ offensive coordinator in 2019, to FSU.

How many signees could FSU have: This is tough to project. About 12 scholarship seniors will either graduate, see their eligibility expire or both. Cam Akers has announced he’s entering the NFL draft, which creates a scholarship opening as well as an immediate need for more running backs in the 2020 signing class. Defensive tackle Marvin Wilson and wide receiver Tamorrion Terry also have decisions to make about their future. And it’s reasonable to expect some roster turnover with the transfer portal, but that should be a two-way street.