It has been hinted at and seemed possible for months maybe even years, but the NCAA finally changed the redshirt rule for college football, now allowing players to appear in up to four games while still being able to redshirt. Before we dive into what this means, let me just say this is a phenomenal change. The NCAA has not always done right by student athletes, but they knocked it out of the park here. This was a rule players, coaches, and fans all wanted.
You can read more about it here.
So, what does this rule change mean? Well, it will help incoming freshmen with their development because they can actually play in games instead of riding the pine all year and only playing on the scout team. This will likely help them be more engaged in practice because they can actually experience the speed of the college game in a limited capacity. If a starter gets hurt and will only miss a few games, a player could fill in for those games without burning their redshirt (i.e. if Tyler Huntley gets hurt and is going to miss a game or two, Jack Tuttle could start in this hypothetical situation and still keep his redshirt).
It will make games against FCS and low-level FBS teams more compelling because the future stars can play (which means we will see Tuttle this year). For players that are forced to burn their redshirt from limited reps due to injuries to teammates (like Devontae Henry-Cole), they will be able to step in and help the team without losing a year of eligibility just by appearing in a game or two (or four). Also, why not toss in all the true freshmen in a lower level bowl game? He obviously was not redshirting, but Utah did this with Huntley in the Foster Farms Bowl in 2016. That was valuable experience for his development heading into the offseason. Utah signed a lot of talented players in the 2018 signing class, and now all of them can play in 2018. For a team like Utah that does so well at player development, this rule could really help Utah move up in the Pac-12.
I think this rule will have a positive outcome for college football and will make the season even more compelling for fans.