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Oklahoma Sooners Football Recruiting: How Will the Early Signing Period Impact OU?

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For the first time this year, recruits can sign with schools in December if they choose.

NCAA Football: Akron at Oklahoma Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Last week the Collegiate Commissioners Association voted to approve a new early signing period for recruits, a 72-hour window beginning December 20 that will have a big impact on college football for years to come. (And inspire a lot of bad Christmas puns. “Look what Santa brought the Sooners!” Ugh.)

But who will benefit from the new rules? Maybe the new period will keep blue blood programs — like the Oklahoma Sooners — from poaching kids from lesser schools at the last minute. Or maybe having locked-in December classes will create intensified kid-to-kid recruiting, with signees going all-in to add to their team before February.

Truth is, the new window will probably impact college football in all sorts of unpredictable ways we haven’t thought of yet. What happens when a five-star unexpectedly won’t sign his LOI? What happens when Alabama’s fringe prospect finds out he’s not as valued as he thought he was? There’s just no way to know what kooky situations could play out — this is recruiting, after all.

One thing many sites have done is look at how the rules could have changed Oklahoma’s last few classes. Bob Przybylo did a nice what-if on the 2016 and 2017 classes, concluding that the new rules may have cost OU Tyreece Lott, Tre Norwood and Troy James but gained them Jacob Phillips for 2017.

Is that hypothetical class better or worse than the one OU ultimately signed? Hard to say, but it’s definitely a lot different.

Sure, it’s possible that the early period will play out with minimal drama — that every commit will sign his LOI, and that Oklahoma will move on to just a handful of undecided guys who might be able to fill out the class.

But nothing has been drama-free in Norman lately, and I’m betting the new signing period will be much the same for better or worse. Hopefully by then the Sooners will have lots of great presents under the tree.