The biggest event of college football's offseason is here. Wednesday is National Signing Day, the day for high school seniors to decide where they'll be playing football at the next level. Recruits across the country will be putting pen to paper on National Letters of Intent, and officially signing with the school of their choice.
Northwestern more or less has its 2016 class locked up. It's a remarkably strong class given the context in which it came together, and one that continues a trend of improved recruiting. Provided there are no de-commitments or late additions, 20 players will join the program on scholarship.
At 7 a.m. local time, recruits can sign and fax in their paperwork to officially become Wildcats. That means the fax machines in Northwestern's football offices will begin buzzing at 6 a.m. CT, when 11 prospects from the eastern time zone will make their decisions official (the 12th, Tommy Carnifax, enrolled early). The remaining eight, all from the central time zone, will be able to sign at 7 a.m. CT.
We'll be tracking the NLIs as they come in, and our site will be updated with every signing. Once the class is complete, we'll give you an overview of it, plus a map to show where its members come from. We'll also aggregate pictures of the newest Wildcats at Signing Day events at their high schools.
Then it's on to Pat Fitzgerald's Signing Day press conference from Harry Caray's in downtown Chicago. But first...
BINGO. Around 10 a.m., we'll be releasing this year's edition of Pat Fitzgerald Signing Day Press Conference Bingo. Last year we came a "Wildcat Way" away from double bingo on our first attempt. This year, we believe we're positioned for unprecedented success with an updated and improved card. We'll try to go 1-0 this time around.
If you're unable to watch Fitzgerald's press conference, we'll have comprehensive notes, quotes and video up on our site afterwards. If you are able to watch, here's how you can:
Pat Fitzgerald Signing Day press conference
For more on the 20 individuals that comprise the class, we profiled every single one of them here. And to tie a bow on Signing Day, we'll be publishing a short article on the most exciting player in the class Wednesday afternoon.
Thursday will feature a look ahead to next year's class, a comparison of Northwestern's recruiting to Illinois', and a position-by-position, class-by-class look at Northwestern's roster with the new class on board.
Big Ten Network will also be airing Signing Day coverage throughout the day:
Big Ten Network Signing Day coverage
BTN will air an eight-hour Signing Day show from 8 a.m. CT to 4 p.m. CT. Here are snippets from the press release:
- Live look-ins at both Michigan's "Signing of the Stars" and Northwestern's special event at the iconic Harry Caray's Restaurant in Chicago;
- BTN Analyst Gerry DiNardo's extensive one-on-one interview with Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer;
- Behind-the-scenes action from war rooms at Nebraska and Penn State;
- And interviews with coaches and signees already on campus.
Mike Hall will handle hosting duties with analysts Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith, and the trio will be joined by recruiting analyst Allen Trieu as they provide an in-depth analysis of each school's class. BTN reporters will be on-site at eight schools, including Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Maryland, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska.
In addition, using the Twitter Q&A app, Hall, Griffith, DiNardo, Trieu will respond by video to fans who submit questions on Twitter using the hashtag #SigningDayOnBTN.
If you're interested in recruiting on a more national scale, ESPN (and WatchESPN online) will be airing 11 hours of coverage: 7 a.m. - noon on ESPNU, noon - 4 p.m. on ESPN2, and 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. on ESPNU (all times central).
If you have any questions about our Signing Day coverage, or the day as a whole, comment below.