For top college football prospects a decision looms: Sign now or later?

Oxon Hill wide receiver Daniel George says he will sign his National Letter of Intent in this year’s early signing period to attend Penn State next year.

George, a four-star prospect, committed to the Nittany Lions in July after dozens of top Division I football programs lured him to spurn the Washington area’s regional football programs. He announced a final 10 schools — North Carolina, Louisville, Kentucky, Maryland, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech and Penn State — and stuck with the Rose Bowl participants over the summer.

He is among the first class of recruits that has an option of when to put pen to paper and finally declare allegiance to a university. The NCAA in May authorized a 72-hour early signing window between Dec. 20-22 for the class of 2018.

High school football seniors have for years had until the first Wednesday in February to decide where to attend college. Then the signing period began when players could sign financial aid agreements with colleges and universities.

It has cultivated a frenzied few weeks at the end of the year in which college coaches bear down on 17- and 18 year-olds to try to secure their commitments.

The early signing window is a way for players to opt out of the college football recruiting scene six weeks early, and designed to give high school seniors a bit more of downhill slope to the end of their secondary school careers.

The move has brought a breath of relief, George said. Other programs will finally stop trying to pry him away from Penn State — something that is not going to happen, he says — once he submits his NLI. And, once Penn State gets his paperwork, coaches have told him they can share the team’s playbook and film.

High school coaches have said they fear their college counterparts will use the early signing window to pressure high schoolers into making hasty decisions. But George said the Penn State coaches don’t care when he officially commits and don’t see a student-athlete waiting for National Signing Day as a sign the player might go elsewhere.

George said the only thing he’ll miss from the February signing day is the chance to celebrate with other teammates. Oxon Hill routinely sends players to the college football ranks and they typically sign their letters of intent together at a school-wide ceremony.

But George isn’t much of a showman. He’ll sign in December at a quiet gathering at home with friends and family, he said.

“I don’t really like to make a big deal out of things,” he said. “It’s going to happen one day or another.”

» Damascus 2018 offensive tackle Jordan Funk committed to Army-West Point on Tuesday, he announced on Twitter. Funk has anchored a Hornet offensive line that has long been one of Maryland’s best. He also had offers from Temple, Maine and Sacred Heart.

» Penn State Coach James Franklin and offensive line coach Matt Limegrover and Virginia Tech offensive line coach Vance Vice visited Waldorf on Friday to see North Point 2019 offensive lineman Rasheed Walker. Walker, a four-star prospect, is one of the top seniors in the area still uncommitted. He’s considering Ohio State, Penn State, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia Tech and Rutgers as his final six schools.

» DeMatha 2018 wide receiver Dominic Lyles added an offer from Air Force to his growing list of college choices. He already has offers from Navy, Morgan State and Robert Morris. He has 14 catches for 229 yards and three touchdowns this season.

» Potomac Falls 2019 linebacker Dean Ferguson picked up an offer from Rutgers, he tweeted on Monday. Ferguson already has offers from Virginia, East Carolina and Old Dominion.

» Damascus 2020 defensive end Bryan Bresee, the nation’s top prospect in the sophomore class, will visit Penn State this weekend when the No. 2 Nittany Lions host Michigan. Bresee has scholarship offers to both schools.

» DeMatha 2019 defensive back Nick Cross received an offer to Notre Dame on Saturday. He also has invitations to Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Maryland and Purdue, among other Division I programs.

» St. John’s 2018 defensive end Caleb Okechukwu added a scholarship offer from Massachusetts over the weekend. Arizona, which offered Okechukwu in March, remains a front-runner in his recruitment.

» Centreville 2018 wide receiver Keenan Anunay picked up an offer from Stony Brook on Saturday. The Widcats mostly use Anunay in the short passing game or as a wing back on end arounds. He also starts at cornerback.

» We’re trying to keep a running list of all the players in the area with Power Five conference offers. And we’ve recently added a page for the Class of 2020Are we missing anyone? Let us know by commenting on this article or tweeting @jacobbogage, and we’ll make updates.

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