To add to Crimson's question, didn't 3 of the 8 early enrollees count toward last years class? If so, wouldn't that have allowed us to sign 28 in this years class? But then again if this is true, why would those 2 recruits from this year have been offered a greyshirt?
Here is my understanding, but may not be 100% accurate, but should be pretty close.....the terms "red shirting" and "grey shirting" are made up terms and not "official" ncaa terms. Basically, a student has 5 years to play four, starting when they first enroll in school. A "red shirt" is a term adopted to signify a year not played out of the 5 years of eligibility. A student who enrolls in January can count toward either the last class or the next one. A "grey shirt" can enroll in August and pay his own way and practice as a "walk on" until he goes on scholarship, but his eligibility also starts in August. Or they can wait to enroll in January on scholarship, and their eligibility starts at the same time. However, a grey shirt can not "sign" on signing day unless they are going to count against the current years class, therefore the committment is still technically verbal and non binding.
The only downside to the three guys this year is their scholarship still wasn't technically guaranteed if they took the grey shirt offers, so they all opted to sign elsewhere and take (1 year) guaranteed scholarships. I honestly don't blame them, but under the circumstances with each of them,no one should fault Bama either.
The devil, or Nick Saban, comes to your house and makes you sign a contract saying you will spend eternity in servitude doing evil. You will be an utter failure in life, and have adult acne. So says the ajc, they don't lie about Nick Saban.
Honestly, you delay your enrollment, or pay your own way, until your scholarship counts towards the next year's class, I believe.