The recruiting process has charged hard and fast into the life of DeSales High School senior football player Brian Asamoah the last several months.

The running back and linebacker didn't receive any Division I scholarship offers prior to his junior season, but he was up to 29 offers heading into the first week of August.

Walking the decision to completion, though, is far from done for Asamoah or the 20 central Ohio players from the 2018 recruiting class who have announced their commitments to Football Bowl Subdivision programs.

Much could change over the next few months for the athletes and the schools involved.

Adding yet another wrinkle to the process is the NCAA's announcement in April that it was adding an earlier signing period in December to the traditional one that begins the first Wednesday in February and runs through April 1.

It's a large undertaking for athletes like Asamoah who have so much to gain -- and lose -- by their college decisions.

"You can look at it from both ways," Asamoah said. "It could be good or bad to sign early. It could be good to get it done, but you could also sign too early if maybe a dream school comes in with a late offer. Or if you sign too early, you could be stuck with whatever you've got."

One of Asamoah's next big recruiting decisions, if he ends up committing over the next four months, will be whether to sign during the early period, which begins Dec. 20 and runs for 72 hours, or wait until the regular signing period, which opens Feb. 7.

Westerville South's Jaelen Gill and Hilliard Bradley's Kory Taylor are among those who see the good in adding the early signing period, albeit a change whose impact is at least somewhat shrouded in mystery.

Gill, a running back, is the relative veteran to the process among central Ohio's top recruits considering that he verbally committed to Ohio State in March but has said that he does not plan to sign until February.

Taylor missed almost all of last season with an injury but has been building up offers since his sophomore year and is up to 20 as a wide receiver.

A big final prep season could land him even more offers, which could make his decision about whether to sign early or wait until February even more complicated.

"I've always wanted to do it after my senior season," Taylor said.

Potential impact

The NCAA Division I Council made a series of changes in April that were designed to "make the recruiting environment more transparent and better tied to high schools."

In addition to the early signing period, the council added a period of official visits that begins April 1 of a player's junior year and ends the Sunday before the last Wednesday in June of that year. Official visits can't occur in conjunction with a prospect's participation in a school's camp or clinic.

In other words, FBS members of the council voted 14-1 to take steps that allow for the recruiting process to begin, and end, earlier for athletes.

Signing day in February has grown into a day of huge interest for fans and the media over the past decade, with ESPNU annually running a day-long special featuring some of the athletes who elected to wait until that day to announce their decisions.

The early signing period likely won't move that day up by six weeks but instead will create a second day of national interest since there likely will still be athletes who won't make their decisions until the February signing period.

From the 2017 class, Walnut Ridge's Darrick Forrest originally committed to Miami University in December 2016 but landed what he considered a better offer during the second week of January from Cincinnati and changed his commitment Jan. 16.

Pickerington Central's Morgan Ellison had committed to Ohio University in November 2016 only to decommit Jan. 16. He then announced his commitment to Indiana on Jan. 31 and signed with the Hoosiers the next day.

The early signing period has Central Crossing coach Trevor White wondering how his athletes might be affected during the regular season now that they could feel pressure to sign earlier.

"That can be a pretty big distraction for a kid near the end of his high school season, especially for a team making a playoff run," White said.

As busy as college coaches already are from September through the end of November, the early signing period could create even more chaos for them.

Nearly every school adds a last-minute signing in February, but occasionally an athlete like Forrest or Ellison can pop onto the radar of a larger school if there is a coaching change or if a school loses commitments.

Tommy Tuberville stepped down as Cincinnati's coach Dec. 4 amid rumors that he could have been fired. Luke Fickell, a DeSales graduate who had been Ohio State's defensive coordinator, was hired six days later.

Indiana also underwent a coaching change last year, as Kevin Wilson resigned Dec. 1 and Tom Allen immediately was announced as the replacement.

On the other side of the timeline, however, is Minnesota, which got a commitment from Marysville senior linebacker Tommy Rush when he flipped from Bowling Green on June 21.

The Golden Gophers didn't make their coaching change until Jan. 3 when Tracy Claeys was fired after 19 games. Minnesota went 9-4 last season but also had 10 players suspended following the school's investigation into an alleged sexual assault in September. P.J. Fleck was hired Jan. 6.

"For high school (athletes), you no longer have time to take much of a breath between the season and recruiting (and I'm) sure it's even worse for college coaches," White said.

The verdict: Wait and see

As the recruiting domain continues to change, just how much of an impact the early signing period will have won't be known until the first run-through.

Hilliard Darby coach John Santagata sees both positives and negatives for the athletes involved.

From the 2017 recruiting class, the only Darby athlete to sign was Mo Debyan with Division II Urbana.

Debyan announced his decision Jan. 11, the same month when many athletes who sign with a Football Championship Subdivision or Division II college make their final decisions.

The Panthers' last FBS recruit was Caleb Day, a 2013 graduate who committed to Illinois the summer before and went on to play 31 college games.

Santagata sees at least two positives with the early signing period.

One is that those who are tired of the recruiting experience can complete the process earlier.

Another has to do with honesty.

"Some schools offer a plethora of athletes with no intention of actually signing all of them," Santagata said. "Instead, they offer kids that they really only want to sign if their other top prospects sign with another university. This will force colleges and universities to be more honest with athletes and less misleading as many will wait until the later signing day."

The biggest downside, he believes, has to do with potential college coaching changes that usually occur in December and January.

If an athlete signs early and his coach quits or gets fired shortly thereafter, his decision will remain binding.

On the flip side, some athletes who choose not to sign early could find themselves as a plan B option for colleges that find out in December that they've missed out on some of their targets.

Regardless of the potential affects, recruiting undoubtedly will continue to evolve.

"Due to all the social media outlets for kids to utilize and schools use to promote their program, recruiting has changed so much the last five years," Olentangy coach Mark Solis said. "(The early signing period) allows a kid the ability to make that decision earlier and not worry about the late recruiting runs all schools will pitch even if a kid has a verbal commitment. I'm good with it."


At a glance

Below is a list of central Ohio athletes who have verbally committed to Football Bowl Subdivision programs from the 2018 recruiting class:

Name, High School, College

Sam Backenstoe, Hilliard Davidson, Army

Jeslord Boateng, Dublin Coffman, Michigan State

Joe Boggs, Reynoldsburg, Ball State

Jaelen Gill, Westerville South, Ohio State

Patrick Gilliland, Hartley, Ohio U.

Trenton Gillison, Pickerington Central, Michigan State

Xavier Henderson, Pickerington Central, Michigan State

Bryce Houston, Olentangy Orange, Ohio U.

James Lachey, Grandview, Bowling Green

Alex Morgan, Pickerington Central, Toledo

Isaiah Mullens, Harvest Prep, Wisconsin

Tyler Potts, Pickerington North, Ball State

Elijah Ratliff, Reynoldsburg, Marshall

Tommy Rush, Marysville, Minnesota

Jacob Slade, Olentangy, Michigan State

Zach Slade, Olentangy, Michigan State

Antonio Smith, Westerville South, Bowling Green

Ty Van Fossen, DeSales, Cincinnati

Edward Warriner, Olentangy Liberty, Michigan State

Alex Williams, Pickerington North, West Virginia