More football players making early commitments _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Lakeshore running back David Ducre committed to LSU in February.

Six months, 10 days.

That’s how long football recruits in the Class of 2015 have until national signing day.

Some will take every last one of those days to decide.

But many have already decided in what has become an ever-growing trend of early commitments.

For those keeping up (or at least trying to keep up), 27 players from the New Orleans area have already made verbal commitments.

And we’re still just in July.

Hahnville receiver Brandon Singleton became the most recent to join the list when he committed to Georgia Tech on Friday.

“It’s just the way things have been trending,” said Jason Howell, mid-south regional analyst for “It just seems like every year, more and more guys are starting to do it earlier.”

Howell points to the increasing number of camps at different colleges that recruits attend now.

“The kids are getting out to see these campuses earlier now,” Howell said. “The prospects and the colleges are getting more familiar with each other, and as a result the kids are able to make more informed decisions earlier.”

For many recruits, making an early commitment is a chance to get the recruiting process out the way and focus on the senior season and academics.

“I have basically a new team this year with a lot of new faces, so I wanted to focus on the team,” said Holy Cross receiver Michael Chigbu, who committed to Georgia on Thursday.

“Now I can focus on the team and just trying to get to state. I know coaches will still call, but they probably won’t call as much now and that’s a big plus.”

For Lakeshore fullback David Ducre, making an early commitment was a no-brainer. Ducre committed to LSU in February, one of the first in his class to announce his decision.

“I knew what school I wanted to go to from jump street, so once they offered I committed,” Ducre said. “I just wanted to shut the recruiting down. I wanted to get it off my shoulders and just concentrate on my senior year.”

Helen Cox coach Willie Brooks has three players who have already made verbal commitments and sees the benefits of guys making their decisions early.

“Kids worry about that stuff, so once they commit their future is a little clearer to them,” Broooks said. “From a coaching standpoint, you want your kids to be able to concentrate on their senior year.

“Once they commit, they can really focus on what’s really going on. Other schools may still come after them, but at least they feel like they have a home already.”

JC Shurburtt, a national analyst for 247, has covered recruiting for the past decade and has watched the number of early commitments climb.

“A lot of kids have their own deadlines to get it done before the season starts,” Shurburtt said. “You see a flurry of guys make a decision this time of the year, then it will calm down during the season and then start back up in November.”

The early commitments have increased the workload for recruiting services.

“In the past, you wouldn’t even start doing the (college) team recruiting rankings until this time of the year,” Shurburtt said. “Teams would only have two or three commits by now. But now with so many, it’s an accelerated process, especially in the South.

“Out West, those guys don’t commit as early. I think it’s just more attention paid to it here, and there is just a lot more passion for it here. The schools that are recruiting the Southeast start offering earlier, especially the kids who are no-brainers.”

LSU has verbal commitments from 14 players already. Louisiana Tech has 18. Texas A&M has 19. And Mississippi State has a whopping 26.

But verbal commitments are just that … verbal.

They aren’t binding until national signing day, and a lot can change between now and then.

Hunter Dale, a highly recruited defensive back at John Curtis, committed to Nebraska 10 days ago, but decided to re-open his recruitment and look more thoroughly at his options before making a final decision.

According to Shurburtt, about “80 percent” of kids stick with their verbal commitments.

“It just seems like less than that because so much attention and headlines go to the guys who flip,” Shurburrt said.

Not all players will make an early decision.

Tyron Johnson, Warren Easton’s standout receiver rated the No. 1 player in the country at his position, won’t announce his decision until the Under Arnour All-American Game in January. Other higher profile players like St. Augustine receiver Stanley Morgan, Riverdale athlete Donte Jackson, and Destrehan receiver Kirk Merritt are still waiting as well.

But stay tuned.

More commitments could be on the way any day now.

“On a national level, early commitments are a trend you will likely see continue to a certain point,” Shurburtt said.