Local preps ready for national signing day

Feb 5 2013 - 9:05pm

On Wednesday, high school stars around the state will sign their letters of intent to play college football, as fans breathlessly await the final decisions and pore over the rankings.

Whether the youngsters turn out to be great contributors to their new schools or not, the excitement that comes with signing day is unique.

Locally, schools along the Wasatch Front will stage signing events of their own as seniors sign in soccer, volleyball and other sports.

The Weber State football program will hold its annual signing day party at 6 p.m. to announce the 2013 signing class. Coach Jody Sears and the rest of the Wildcat coaching staff will announce the newest Wildcats.

The Wildcat Club will host the signing party on the third floor of Stewart Stadium. Admission is free and all fans are invited to attend.

Utah State football coach Matt Wells will discuss his first recruiting class in a press conference at 1 p.m. as part of national signing day. Fans can watch the press conference at the school's website.

BYU and Utah will also hold press conferences.

Cougar fans can follow the official commitments of the newest members of the BYU football program on BYUcougars.com. Coach Bronco Mendenhall will speak about the recruits. BYUTV will broadcast a program at 7 p.m.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham will present the Utes recruits at 4 p.m. Fans can watch the press conference at utahutes.cstv.com.

The NCAA recently loosened its rules to allow coaches to communicate more with prospects through phone calls and text messages, with the changes taking effect Aug. 1. Assistants can also now spend more time visiting high schools.

But a proposal was tabled that would have let coaches start contacting recruits beginning July 1 between their sophomore and junior years. The current rules don't permit communication to begin until after 11th grade.

Coaches are still not allowed to make any contact during certain periods and are limited in how much time they can spend with players in person. The head coach gets only one off-campus visit with a recruit. So they have to get creative.

"You go into the schools -- I'll go to the janitor and I'll ask the janitor about the young man," Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze said. "I ask the cafeteria workers and the guidance counselor. And you get a good feel when you have a year to recruit a kid and you see him in every different type of environment, whether it's in the home setting or on our college campus. It's all types of scenarios.

"If you have a year to recruit a kid, you've got a chance to be pretty accurate in the evaluation of his character."

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