National Signing Day is now just days away, but the recruiting calendar between now and then is a bit more complicated than it seems.

Let’s take a look at how the coming week is going to shake out as the biggest recruiting day of the year draws near:

Sunday, Feb. 1 — Quiet period: Not only is this Super Bowl Sunday, but it’s also the unofficial beginning of the lead up to National Signing Day. A quiet period is a bit more restrictive than the NCAA’s normal recruiting regulations. During the one-day quiet period, recruits and coaches are able to communicate only if they are either…

  • A) Meeting in person on campus, or…
  • B) Communicating electronically via cell phones, email, social networking, what have you.

Coaches will often invite players to campus for an unofficial visit during the one-day quiet period to make one last sales pitch before the big day arrives. It’s not hard for players and coaches to maintain correspondence during the quiet period, and often times it allows prospects to soak in the campus atmosphere before making a final decision.

Monday, Feb, 2 – Thursday, Feb. 5 — Dead period: The recruiting process goes back into a dead period the week of National Signing Day, and the same rules apply to this dead period as the one that spanned from mid-December to mid-January during college football’s bowl season.

For those still not in the know, a dead period prohibits players and coaches from contacting one another in person, although electronic communication is still allowed. This prohibits schools from inviting players to campus on the eve of, or even the day of, National Signing Day.

Wednesday, Feb. 4 — National Signing Day: The big day is Wednesday, marking the first day non-early-enrollee prospects can sign letters of intent with their schools of choice, finalizing their decisions once and for all. To clarify, players don’t have to sign on this day, but they cannot sign before National Signing Day unless they’re enrolling early in school (and that phase in the recruiting process has already passed).

Recruits will have until April 1 to officially sign a letter of intent to accept a scholarship offer.

Friday, Feb. 6 – Tues. April 6 — Quiet period: The NCAA enters another quiet period following the dead period that encompasses National Signing Day. This quiet period will extend for most of the remainder of the academic year, prohibiting coaches from making house visits in the immediate aftermath of National Signing Day while some players still make up their minds.

This also keeps coaches with an edge in resources and national outreach from getting a head start on visits to the top players in the 2016 class all over the country.