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Changes to calendar
The addition of the early signing period in December is only part of the change to the recruiting calendar. This spring, players heading into their senior seasons will have a chance to take official visits to colleges.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said the more opportunities available to players to plan official visits, the better.
“I can remember a time when very few [official] visits occurred during the fall. Most visits were after the football season took place and there were unofficial visits during the season,” Harbaugh said. “Official visits came afterwards. I can see a model where official visits come in the spring and the fall and after the season. When you have high school football with Friday night games, sometimes that can compact the official visit. Does it make more sense to visit when you’re not playing a game on a Friday night? That’s the choice now.
“More options for the family, more options for the official visitors. More options is better.”
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In past years, players couldn’t begin taking official visits until September of their senior years. Each player is allowed up to five official visits — visits that are paid for by the school for the player and his parents or guardians — but they may take as many unofficial visits that they and their families pay for themselves as they like.
Michigan hosted official visits for multiple players on home weekends throughout last season, including those for eventual signees Cameron McGrone, Hassan Haskins, Joe Milton and Taylor Upshaw. Milton and Upshaw, both from Florida, were at the Nov. 25 game against Ohio State after their seasons were complete. Tackle Jalen Mayfield was able to make multiple visits from his home in Grand Rapids but didn’t take his official visit until early December, the same weekend running back Christian Turner and athlete Michael Barrett took his.
Tight end Mustapha Muhammad, who is from Houston, took his official visit in January.
Travel distance and scheduling dates and times that work best for various players has always been a difficult part of getting them on campus. This new rule should alleviate some of those obstacles. Harbaugh said Michigan will “participate” in the spring official visits but to what extent is unknown at this time. The Wolverines have done a good job in the past of getting players on campus in the past for camps and spring practice visits. It will be interesting to see how this new process works for them.
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