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Early Signing Period 2019: Schedule, commitments, press conference for Virginia football

Everything you need to stay on top of the craziest day of the recruiting calendar

NCAA Football: Virginia at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It is Wednesday, December 19, 2018. For some people, that means six shopping days until Christmas. But for the rest of us, it’s already a holiday: the first day that 2019 recruits can officially sign their National Letters of Intent.

The Virginia Cavaliers come into the day with the 35th ranked class nationally (6th in the ACC), according to the 247 Sports Composite rankings. Unless there is MAJOR unanticipated drama, don’t expect that to change by more than a few spots: most of the signing day shuffling will be among the top fifteen to twenty classes as blue chips pick one over the other.

Here’s how STL will be covering the full day.

(And if you need a refresher on exactly what this whole thing is, we got you covered there, too.)

The schedule

7:00 AM — Recruits in the Eastern time zone can submit their letters of intent. This continues as the starting time across the country: whenever it is 7 AM where the recruit is, they can sign and fax in their letters. (Interestingly, this could mean UVA’s first official commits will happen at 1 AM Charlottesville time, as there are multiple 2019 commits from Germany—six hours ahead.)

Expect most of the action to happen fairly early. The craziest part of the day is generally the first 2-3 hours.

8:00 AM — The Central time zone can start submitting signed NLIs. This matters for UVA this year, since one of the outstanding targets to flip is WR Nathaniel Beal out of Houston. Beal is currently committed to Iowa State, but Virginia has put on a full-court press and seems to be in a good spot. Don’t expect Beal to announce at 7 AM on the dot in Texas, but anytime after this is fair game.

This also means Louisianan commits like RB Mike Hollins and WR Dontayvion Wicks can send in their signed NLIs.

10:00 AM — Cornerback Tenyeh Dixon from H.D. Woodson in Washington, DC, will announce his college commitment.

Dixon re-opened his recruitment after the coaching change at Temple. He visited UVA just last weekend, and the Hoos are expected to pick up his commitment.

3:30 PM — Bronco Mendenhall will do his press conference. Since coaches are not allowed to discuss specific recruits until they’ve actually signed, this will be one of the first chances to hear straight from the Bronco’s mouth what the plans are for some of the new Hoos.

7:00 PM — The basketball game! That’s happening too! WHAT FUN! During any lulls in the #crootin action, read Tiki’s preview of the Gamecocks and how UVA matches up.

Thursday and Friday — The early signing period is technically three days, even though almost all of the action is on Wednesday. Players can continue to submit signed NLIs through 11:59 PM on Friday, December 21.

Our coverage

The goal is for us to be like Bryce Hall: have you completely covered from start to finish.

Yesterday we published a “what to watch for,” with some key storylines for the day. This includes the potential flips, and some thoughts on graduate transfers and mid-year enrollees (the January kids).

As we get word that recruits have submitted their signed NLIs, we’ll publish individual profiles that include their ratings from different services (247, Rivals, and ESPN), as well as some highlights and quick thoughts on what they bring to the program. Those profiles will all be aggregated in our National Signing Day 2019 hub, which will live in the top spot on the home page.

(Yes, I know it’s 2018. But this is for the class of 2019.)

If we get commitment news—from Beal, from Dixon, or from an unexpected player—we’ll put up articles on those stories, as well.

After Bronco’s press conference in the afternoon, we’ll put up some key takeaways as well as the full video. In years past, this has been a great source of insight into recruiting strategy, and it’s a must-watch if you’re invested in the future of the program.

After all that, I’ll put together a breakdown of where things stand with the 2019 class and the roster/scholarship situation overall, along with my thoughts on where the areas of focus need to be between now and the final signing day in February.

So that’s that, ladies and gents. Pour yourself a nice hot cuppa joe and let’s get down to business!