The move for players to enroll early at their college choice and get a semester up on the rest of the incoming class has been a continuing trend through the years and the Buckeyes welcomed seven new freshmen to the football team in January. All seven players will get that extra semester with the strength and conditioning staff as well as the ever-important opportunity to go through spring football as they try and make a name for themselves when the coaches start trying to figure out who will be in the mix for the 2014 season.
There are terms for pretty much everything set by the NCAA and the term for the early enrollees is "green shirt" (think opposite of red shirt which stops a player from playing). Being granted a green shirt does not mean that a player is guaranteed to play and a subsequent redshirt still can follow but it still allows the chance for the player to get acclimated to college life, college practice and just as important college coursework.
A team cannot push everyone through for early enrollment or a "green shirt" however and the players will count against the 25 scholarship limit from the year prior (but this is a running count and players who were granted early enrollment in 2013 count against the 2012 class and so on) so there are limits to how many players are able to take advantage of this. Not all high schools are on board with allowing players to graduate in 3 ½ years (Kyle Berger would not have a chance because Cleveland St. Ignatius will not allowed early graduation) so it is not a case of where everyone is able to get that head start.
All seven players are able to sign financial aid paperwork and are officially enrolled but do not sign a National Letter of Intent. The remaining 14 members (plus any additions that could come) of the class will sign their National Letters of Intent on February 5th and have until April 1st to sign (the end of the signing period). Let's meet Ohio State's seven early enrollees (Ohio State Commitment List).