December 19th is the official mark to the 2019 recruiting season with "Early Signing Day". It allows a portion of student-athletes to begin making their verbal offers and commitments binding with a signature on a formal contract provided through a program called National Letter of Intent (NLI). Early Signing Period is only for Division 1. Regular Signing Period of Division 1 and Division 2 is begins on February 6th.
Not every school uses the NLI—about 650 NCAA DI and DII schools—and it’s not mandatory to sign. The National Letter of Intent is not affiliated directly with the NCAA; it was created by the Collegiate Commissioners Association to protect both the college and student from either party backing out.
According to NCSA, a college recruiting support website, signing on the dotted line of the National Letter of Intent means three things:
Early signing period will end on Dec 21st and then resume again in February.
Here is a great article from our friends at NCSA that explains more about NLI, signing and dates associated with signing periods.