Christmas came a little early for college football coaches around the country.
SIU head coach Nick Hill announced his early signing class Wednesday.
The class features 16 high school players...eight are from Illinois and two who played in southern Illinois...Justin Strong - a safety from Belleville Althoff - and defensive end Jacob Traxler from Eldorado.
Hill says he places a priority on finding local talent.
"That means a lot. I mean this is southern Illinois. They have pride. They come here. They probably have a family member who went to school here."
Hill says he likes the earlier date because it's less stressful since you don't have to keep tabs on potential recruits for several weeks after Christmas.
"Now, it's we can enjoy it. They're ours and we can talk about them. Now, we know where we're at. 'Hey, we got one scholarship, we got two scholarships.' We'll be kind of zeroed in on our recruiting in January and probably be off the road a little bit at our level. We can probably start looking ahead to 2019 recruiting a little bit more."
SIU's signing class features three offensive lineman, two quarterbacks, two wide receivers, two tight ends, two defensive linemen, including Jacob Traxler of Eldorado, two cornerbacks, a running back, a safety and a linebacker.
You can learn more about the signees at siusalukis.com.
Hill says three players are leaving the program. They are quarterback Tanner Hearn, defensive back Shawntrez Spates and linebacker Kamahl March.