Dozens of area prep standouts signed on to suit up on Saturdays for the collegiate team of their choice, supplying their respective John Hancock on the dotted line to make it official.
As has been the case in recent years, the area’s virtual football factories like Stephenson and Southwest DeKalb continued with their annual sizable donations to the college game.
Tucker made quite a bit of noise of its own on this day. In all, 10 Tigers players entered into pacts to play at the next level on scholarship.
“It’s always a very exciting day … guys going on to the next chapter of their lives,” said Tigers coach Bryan Lamar. “It takes a lot of hard work — not only on the field, but in the classroom, for them to give themselves this opportunity.”
Lamar — himself a Tucker product — challenged his departing players to continue to embrace the academics side of student-athlete life at university.
“It’s a journey,” he told them. “Unfortunately, everybody who signs [a letter of intent] doesn’t finish … you have to finish.
“Right now it’s easy — with all the applause and praise you’re getting … but you guys got to go to work.”
Elsewhere, Chamblee capped off a season of resurgence with an informal celebration marking the ascension of seven of its players to the college ranks.
Last year, the team only sent one player there, first-year Bulldogs coach Allen Johnson pointed out.
“My goal in taking this job was to put more kids in college,” Johnson said. “Our Class of 2013 kind of laid the foundation.
“These kids bought into the program, took their time in both the classroom and the weight room seriously … and it paid off for them.”
The same goes for standouts like Tucker offensive lineman Alex Hayes.
The soon-to-be incoming freshman at Syracuse expressed relief at his recruiting cycle’s finally reaching its conclusion.
“Finally, it’s all over,” he added. “It’s time to get to work now.”
Those sentiments should ring true for the dozens of other DeKalb players headed to the next level.
Stephenson is sending 20 graduating seniors to the college game — that total second among DeKalb programs (M.L. King was tops with 23).
Check out DeKalb Neighbor’s special feature ‘Stories from Signing Day’ in our Feb. 13 edition.