ROME - Rome High School's defense may have more Division I football recruits than some area codes -- maybe even more than some entire states.
"We'll be better than last year, I'll tell you that," said Rome defensive lineman Jamarcus Chatman.
The defending Class 5A state champions are loaded with future college players, including three on defense who recently committed to Louisiana State University at the same time: Chatman, defensive lineman Ja'Quon Griffin and linebacker Adam Anderson.
Those three players -- plus any other college seniors hoping to earn a Division I scholarship offer -- have a new option this year. Monday, the NCAA officially added an early signing period, a 72-hour window where recruits can sign their letters of intent to play college football. The early signing period will be December 20th-22nd, 2017. Previously, players could only sign on or after National Signing Day in February.
"I feel like the early [signing period] could help most people focus in on school," said Anderson.
The three LSU commitments say they're solid in their pledge to the Tigers so, perhaps, they'll end up deciding to sign early.
"Yeah, I'd think about it," said Griffin.
To be fair to those three players, they might change their minds -- Monday was the first day we knew for sure an early signing period was going to happen this year. There's also going to be an adjustment period for recruits, college coaches and high school teams to the new lay of the land.
"That means official visits will be ... I guess in the summer?" said Rome head coach John Reid. "They'll have to come down with exactly how we are supposed to handle that."
Players still figuring out their college plans may opt to take the full amount of time to sign, says Rome's quarterback, who has been gaining the attention of colleges during the Wolves' state title run.
"In some ways it could be good if you're fully set," said Rome quarterback Knox Kadum. "Those questionable guys that aren't ready to sign, that might not help them much because they're still deciding what's best for them."