Spring Signing Period

Wednesday, April 17, begins the spring signing period for high school student athletes recruited to play collegiate sports. This date also marks the final signing period for the class of 2019. As time is slowing running out for the 2019 class, opportunities are still available for qualified and committed high school and junior college athletes. 

April 17-August 1 mark the final signing period for 2019 college bound student athletes.

Looking at the dates for the  spring signing period is is clear that this period is considerably long. Actually, ending on August 1, 2019 the spring signing period targets those in regions where spring sports begin in late March or April then finish in June or in some rare cases July. 

The long spring signing period provides college coaches the opportunity to fill roster spots left open from the previous season.  Throughout the season of a collegiate sports program things happen that result in available roster spots. Teams often lose players to the draft, while some athletes decommit and others succumb to injury others simply retire from the game. Whatever the reason, the late season signing period provides college coaches the opportunity to fill rosters with talent athletes. Consequently, qualified high school and junior college athletes can find a roster spot and a college home. Additionally, college bound athletes can sign with colleges through Jul 31st. 

In summary, the spring signing season means that there is still time left for 2019’s, but admittedly not much. Uncommitted unsigned high school athlete still hoping to compete at the college level for the 2019-2020 season need to be very aggressive and very proactive with communication with coaches. It is advantageous to express sincere interest, but don’t expect coaches to make an offer until after their season is over. Lastly, when the spring signing period closes its only 90 days later that the fall signing period begins for 2020’s.


Spring Recruiting Calendar & Communication Rules

During the Spring it is very important to be aware of  the contact communication periods within your sport as well as the communication regulations that accompany them. This information is easy to locate within the NCAA and NAIA regulations on their respective websites. This information can also be accessed in your Prepstar profile under the My Recruiting Calendar tab. 

It is also important to note the communication rules. While many divisions (D1, D2, D3, etc) have similar communication rules, in actuality, there are some glaring differences.  For example, D2 coaches, in comparison, have much more leniency with prospect communications For example, in football, FBS schools (those that go to bowl games) have similar contact periods than FCS or D2 colleges. And D3 college have no restrictions on communications. 

Now, the key to communicating with college coaches in the Spring is to be proactive! Every student -athlete should be aware that    athletes are permitted to contact coaches at any time as long as they are a high school student. This means that to communicate with college coach outside of designated contact periods has to be initiated by the student-athlete. Additionally, this rule also applies to underclassmen (Freshman and Sophomores). So again, no matter what time of year and no matter the contact period, college coaches are permitted to talk with prospects as long as the prospect makes the first move to contact them. 

The NCAA posts, “The rules define who may be involved in the recruiting process, when recruiting may occur and the conditions under which recruiting may be conducted. Recruiting rules seek, as much as possible, to control intrusions into the lives of student-athletes.”  However, it makes no mention of prohibiting student initiated communicating with college coaches!

Clearly,  understanding and utilizing this rule would provide a recruiting advantage. So, I highly recommend that student-athlete take the initiative to reach out to coaches with emails, texts and voicemails. Never just wait around for coaches to call you! Instead be proactive and make the effort to contact them. 

To wrap up, it would be an atrocious understatement to say that recruiting is anything but a year round process. There is no downtime because college coaches are always recruiting. They are always looking for that special student-athlete who can impact their program. So make sure to use Spring to your advantage. Its a great time of year to get aquatinted with coaches, plan visits and build that ever important recruiting relationship. 

Featured Athlete: Sam Shields

Although its only March, the football preseason has been very busy for 2020 offensive lineman Sam Shields as he has made his rounds with Power 5 campus visits. Shields, standing 6’5, 280 is a highly sought after recruit from Manhattan High School in Kansas. To date, Shields has already received offers from the University of Kanas, University of South Dakota, and has taken visits to University of Iowa and Kansas State.

The PrepStar scouting reports notes that as you watch Sam on film, what strikes you the most is that he has very good feet, they are always moving and he has excellent balance. He also has excellent upper body and lower body strength, and he uses it to his maximum advantage. While a run blocker, he displays excellent footwork, he has a low center of gravity and uses that along with his strength to get under the DL and push him back. He also displays a wide base and excellent footwork, his feet are always moving which allows him to always be in a balanced position. As soon as he steps on the field, he is a beast, giving 110% on each play and he even has a little nasty edge.

Beside being a stellar football player, Shields is also an exceptional student. He carries a 3.6 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society.

NAIA Transfer Rules- how the transfer release aids student-athletes.

Recently, the college sports news has been dominated with transfer notices of NCAA athletes. But many viewers may not be aware that college athletics is made up of more than just the NCAA. College athletes also includes the NAIA and NJCAA. While these organizations share similarities in processes there are some distinct differences in certain procedures. Today, lets look at the transfer rules of the NAIA. 

To begin, the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) is comprised of 65,000 student athletes, 250 member colleges,  with21 conferences and over $600 million in scholarship money. In total NAIA athletics compete for 26 different championships. Having 65,000 student athletes naturally assures that there will be transfers.  And the reason for transfers varies. An athlete can transfer from one school to another such as JC to NAIA, NAIA to NAIA or NCAA to NAIA. The reasons also vary as athletes often decide to transfer because of competitive, academic, or even personal preference.  So what is the process for transferring in the NAIA? 

The change to the NAIA transfer rules seems to have shifted more control over the academic and athletic experience to the student athlete. 

According to the NAIA a transfer is defined as, “A student who becomes identified with an NAIA institution after having previously been identified with a two- or four-year institution of higher learning.”  So then, for an athlete to transfer the student much complete the official NAIA Transfer Player Eligibility Statement prior to their first participation at the NAIA institution no matter how long ago the transfer occurred. The athlete must also request a written release from the previous college before being able to compete at the subsequent college.

Additionally, the NAIA also has residency regulations for transfer. The Play NAIA websites states residency requirements for transfers determine how soon an athlete can compete once transferring from a four-year college or two year college. Assuming that the athete meets the academic requirements including minimum GPA of 2.0, an athete transferring from a 4 year college must wait 16 weeks to participate unless a waiver is granted. However, an athlete transferring from a 2-year college to an NAIA college is does not have a waiting penalty. 

Similar to the NCAA, new legislation regarding approving the release of a student athlete took shape in August 2018. The change stated that if the written release request had not warranted a response within 30 days the written release would be automatically approved.  This new change comes to the aid of the student athlete by prohibiting colleges from blocking or delaying the transfer of student-athletes wanting to move on to compete at another college. The August 2018 change to the NAIA transfer rules seems to shift more control over the academic and athletic experience to the student athlete. 

Featured Athlete: Brett Wozniak

Spring of 2019 has been good to 2020, LHP, Brett Wozniak. This University of Nebraska commit verballed after his official January visit, is an intricate part of the #1 ranked CIF Cypress Centurions, and in a serendipitous event met NFL quarterback Baker Mayfield while taking in some Spring Training games.

In June of 2017, Coach Mike of PrepStar identified Brett Wozniak as one of the top rising southpaw baseball prospects in Southern California for the class of 2020. Following an MVP freshman season and summer roster spot on SoCal NTIS 15U, Wozniak has continued to impress. His skillset has already drawn national recognition by Prep Baseball Report, Baseball Scouting USA and earned him a pre-season All-American nod by Rawlings-Perfect Game.

As a sophomore Wozniak has made significant contributions with key roles as a starter and middle reliever and first-baseman on the Empire League co-Championship and Nationally ranked Cypress HS varsity baseball team. At the plate i 2018, Wozniak hit .328 with a .394 OBP. Dominating on the hill Wozniak consistently kept top competition at bay with an impressive 1.76 ERA. A fine student-athlete Wozniak was named to the Empire League All-Academic Team with an impressive 3.86 GPA.

Heading into his junior season, Prep Baseball Report named Wozniak as one of the top 5 uncommitted pitchers in Southern California. However, while on the radar of several Division 1 colleges, Wozniak didn’t stay on that list very long. Midway through the 2019 campaign there are many resemblances as Cypress is again ranked and currently standing at #1 in CIF Division 1 as well as in the top 10 teams nationally. At the plate Wozniak is carrying a .411 average but equally as impressive he is 4-0 on the bump with a 1.12 era and allowing opponents on 4 earned runs. Earlier this month Wozniak was recognized by the Orange County Register as Fryer’s Diamond Club: Orange County baseball standouts of the week, March 5 for an impressive 6 inning outing to defeat top slated Orange County Lutheran 2-1.

Do the new NCAA Transfer Rules benefit the student-athlete?

In October of 2018 the NCAA made a drastic change to the transfer rules in D1 sports.  While still in their infancy, it is without question that these changes have caused quite a stir in college athletics. The goal of this article, therefore, is to briefly outline the changes while shining some light on the idea that the changes are to the benefit of the college student athlete. 

The new NCAA transfer rules and transfer portal have changed the ways student-athletes communicate the want to transfer.

At the heart of the DI rule changes is that student athletes no longer have to request permission to transfer. Instead, student athletes simply have to inform the university that they want the opportunity to talk with other colleges about the possibility of transfer. In response, the college the student athlete is currently attending will then add the name of the student-athletes to the NCAA transfer database. As a result of the request, once the student-athete has been entwined into the database all colleges will be able to see his or her name and contact info. 

Traditionally, student-athlete transfers have to sit out a year before being able to compete. Even with the new regulations that penalty has not changed and in most cases, remain binding. Currently, despite the conception of the more lenient transfer rules immediate eligibility is promised for transfers. For immediate participation to happen, an approved NCAA waiver is required. It is worth noting that recently in college football the NCAA has granted permission for immediate participation to some very high profile transfers. Is this an indicator of a kinder, gentler NCAA? That is yet to be revealed.

The rule clearly favors D1 student athletes. In contrast, NCAA Division II and NAIA athletes still need to request and receive permission from their current college to speak with coaches at other schools about a transfer. If, or when, when permission is granted, athletes at from colleges will have their name added to the same transfer portal. 

The reason for the new transfer rules is because previously in order for an athlete to transfer he or she a must ask a coach for permission to contact other schools. A school interested in recruiting a transferring player also must ask the current school for permission to recruit. So, without permission from the original school, the student-athlete is unable get financial aid from another school. Essentially, this allowed coaches to block permission to transfer while keeping players from playing at competing schools /certain schools.

Although, the new transfer rules are designed to prohibit those tactics athletes requesting transfer still inertia some risk. For example, once a Division I athlete informs their university of their plan to transfer, the university has the right to cancel the athlete’s sport scholarship at the end of the semester. It is also possible that the coach if he/she desires can immediately remove the athlete from their team. So does this rule really benefit the student athete? Or does the rule place them at risk? Again, its too early to tell. 

Featured Athlete: DJ Jones

Over the March weekend DJ Jones 2020 Running Back at Pine Forest H.S. in Fayetteville, NC received his third D1 football offer. The most recent coming from SEC contender University of Missouri. In the 2018 season Jones rushed for 1198 yards and 20 touches while leading his team to a PAC Conference championship.

Predicting much promise for this top flight RB/ATH Prepstar 2018 preseason scouting report noted that Jones is one the most fearless players you will ever see. At the RB position he goes from 0 to 100 at the blink of an eye and never shifts down. If Jones is given a bit of daylight he can go for 6 points, he is a hard athlete to tackle and is also a threat after the catch.

As the 2019 football approaches the table is set for a stellar senior season for Jones, whose brother Jaeden (2021 QB/ATH) has also made a significant impact for the Pine Forest varsity program since his freshman season. To see highlights of this impressive running back check out his Hudl at http://www.hudl.com/v/2AwmLL.