Observations from National Signing Day in Clayton County

Five observations from National Division Signing Day

Mundy’s Mill senior Rodney Smith, left, and Jonathan Celestin will get a chance to play big-time football after signing with Minnesota. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

Mundy’s Mill senior Rodney Smith, left, and Jonathan Celestin will get a chance to play big-time football after signing with Minnesota. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)


Lovejoy defensive end Randy Anyanwu signs his scholarship to Buffalo as his mother, Eunice, looks on during signing day ceremonies at the school. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

The letters of intent have been signed, and the endless calls from college coaches and recruiting analysts have stopped.

Life is slowly starting to get back to normal for the area’s top football prospects after Wednesday’s National Signing Day ceremonies.

Overall, about 30 players from the county signed scholarships with many more expected in the coming weeks.

It is now time to take a look back on some of the best storylines coming out of National Signing Day involving athletes from around the county.

Here is what we learned:

1. Miracles do happen

Riverdale quarterback Greg Taylor’s dream of playing Division I football seemed all but over. He had all intentions of signing with Division II Paine College after being passed over by schools on the NCAA’s highest level. However, Bethune-Cookman and North Carolina Central, a pair of Football Championship Subdivision schools in the Mid-Eastern Athlete Conference, came calling on Wednesday morning.

All of a sudden, Taylor was thrown back into the recruiting process. Despite not having the luxury of taking an official campus visit, Taylor had to make a decision between the schools by midday. He chose Bethune-Cookman, the MEAC champion.

2. Mundy’s Mill on the rise

This past season, Mundy’s Mill made school history by winning eight straight games and reaching the Class AAAAA quarterfinals. In reaching the quarterfinal round, Mundy’s Mill won its first two state playoff games in school history.

On National Signing Day, more history was made by the school as nine seniors off that team signed with colleges. The day was headlined by Minnesota signees Rodney Smith and Jonathan Celestin, who become the first two players in school history to sign with a major college.

Both signed with Big Ten Conference member Minnesota. The Tigers had four players to sign with a junior college in California and three to sign with Division II schools.

3. No place is too far

From the four corners of the country, players chose colleges based where they thought they could fit in, rather than proximity.

Two Lovejoy players signed with Buffalo while a Drew player chose Norwich in Vermont. Greg Taylor, the former Riverdale quarterback, is going the furthest South. He signed with Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion Bethune-Cookman, a Football Championship Subdivision school in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Four players from Mundy’s Mill will attend Mount San Jacinto Community College in San Diego, Calif. In addition, two players from the school chose Minnesota.

4. They are still teenagers

In some aspects, players that flip their commitment are sometimes shed in a poor light. Fans, and some coaches, will sometimes question their loyalty.

But the thing to remember is that they are still teenagers trying to make the biggest decision of their life.

With the constant phone calls and attention, it makes for some tough decisions, especially after the coach that has recruited them has been fired or takes another job.

“The thing to remember is that this is a big decision,” said Lovejoy defensive end Randy Anyanwu, who flipped from Western Kentucky to Buffalo a week before signing day.

5. It is a neverending process

Now that the majority of the 2014 recruiting class is signed, college and high school coaches are turning their attention to next year’s class.

However, there are still a few loose ends left in the 2014 class as some talented seniors have yet to make their decision.

In the next few weeks, there will be plenty of signings, and juniors will start to make their commitment for next National Signing Day.