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College Football Recruiting Dead Period Officially Over After Nearly 15 Months

This is a photo of Rice Eccles Stadium before the start of an college football game against the Utah Utes and Stanford Cardinal on October 7, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – For the first time since March of 2020, college football recruits can officially visit campuses and have in-person interaction with coaches.

On March 13, 2020, the NCAA shut down in-person visits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prospects have only been allowed to take unofficial visits on campuses in their state but not allowed to meet with coaches in person.

The entire 2021 recruiting class has basically been done virtually when coaches met with prospects. Only in rare cases that a player committed before the extended dead period were they able to visit campuses and with staff members of the programs they were pursing.

It’s been difficult for players to commit to a school that they haven’t visited in person. That has led to some players entering the transfer portal after spring ball. One example of that is four-star defensive lineman Jay Toia. He committed to USC and enrolled at the university. After participating in spring football for the Trojans, he decided to enter the transfer portal.

He posted a letter on Twitter on Monday afternoon.

“A week ago today, I made one of the toughest decisions in my young life as a 17-year old,” Toia wrote. “I entered the transfer portal from my childhood dream school USC Trojans. The 2020 pandemic was tragic to so many that lost so much. For me and especially my parents we felt forced to make a major decision signing with USC based on limited information because of COVID-19 restrictions. We were not able to take any official or unofficial visits to any of the other schools on our short list such as Michigan, Utah, UCLA, Miami among others.

“I as well as my family are truly thankful for the USC staff and students for all the support this past semester. Although I earned all A’s last semester at USC as an early enrollee and worked myself into the 1’s and 2’s deep rotation during spring ball 2021… we as a family felt it was important to really take a closer look at my options regarding my short term and long term future. I have major respect for USC but I owe it to myself and my family to reevaluate my current situation. A special thank you to coach Helton for all his support throughout this process. Thank you kindly Trojan family and Tu’a ‘Ofa Atu.”

It wouldn’t be surprising if we see more of these examples over the next couple of months of players entering the portal and experiencing the recruiting process in person rather than virtually.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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