I think it easier said than done. What is early? Before September 1 of junior year? Take a look at the commitments for power five currently in the 2020 class. Kids can wait but there may not be any money left. Talking to parents can still happen. Recruits can call the coach and parentscan get on speaker to ask questions. Seeing the campus and facilities...they have ways to do that. My son is going to wait until end of summer or beginning of junior year but we saw it last year when kids committed later and were told by P5s, we wish we could offer more but it’s all we have left. We are not relying as much on amount but if it was an issue, the pressure would be more to get the money while it was still available.
The amount of athletic aid you should rely on is "$0.00" Because anything and everything can happen. Don't get yourself into a financial situation at your kid's school of choice that you cannot handle. Spending $65K a year to be a walk on at a private school is only going to be beneficial (IMO) if that family can afford the tuition (or is willing to go into debt for it) and the degree/institution has the horsepower to allow that student to pay off those loans in a short period of time (thinking engineering degree here or something to that effect, which doesn't marry up against being a NCAA athlete all that well). I know there are kids who can and have done it, I'm just saying it isn't easy.
If you are doing a vanilla degree like my son will be doing (business, history, education, etc), if you are paying private school $$$ I would recommend going after that school's highest regarded degree program that isn't engineering, to allow for recoupment of your education dollar investment quicker. Spending $65K a year for a degree in which the starting salary for the job is $30K a year is not a wise investment in my mind.