Wilson Central High School led the way with more than a dozen players signing paperwork at various institutes, including the University of Tennessee, University of Tennessee at Martin, Bethel University, U.S. Naval Academy, Tennessee State University, Morehead State University and more.
Watertown High School had three signees Wednesday, and Mt. Juliet High School featured 10 seniors sign official letters of intent.
Colton Dowell, the lone UT-Martin signee, went through a lengthy process that saw him de-commit from another college before ultimately making his final decision.
“At times, it’s been stressful, but overall it’s been fun. It’s been a fun experience. I was blessed with [On Top Athletics trainer Shavez Jobe] and [Wilson Central assistant coach Josh Crouch] in helping me with recruiting, so it’s been a really fun experience,” Dowell said.
“It’s all been going pretty good. I appreciate all the things the recruiting coaches have done for me. I’ve learned a lot over this whole process,” said Ray Coggins, who chose Tennessee State University.
Kicker Adam Williams will continue his career as a preferred walk on at the University of Tennessee.
“I’m ecstatic. This is a dream come true. Tennessee is the home school. It’s crazy,” Williams said.
The group said the number of teammates joining them at the next level is something of which to be proud.
“I feel proud because all of the Southside kids basically grew up together. I’m proud of the friendships we’ve made, even the ones who haven’t signed anywhere,” Dowell said.
“These kids are my brothers. I love them to death. The fact they get to carry on their football career is amazing,” Williams said.
“It’s a lot of talent here at Central and everybody here is a family,” Coggins said.
Players will take different paths at the next level, but the players seemed optimistic about the next step in their careers.
“I’m going to go in under their punter, Trevor Daniel, and learn from him for a year, and then I plan on taking his spot and getting a scholarship,” Williams said.
“It’s close to home and when I went there it just felt like home. All the players showed me love and showed me that when I go there I’m going to be one of them – a brother,” Coggins said.
“A day like today does not start a week ago or a month ago. This is representation of years and years of dedication and hard work, not only by the young man that’s signing, but by the families they represent, the people who have invested in their lives and the people who have helped drive them to practice, train and coach them and the teachers who have been involved,” Wilson Central athletic director Chip Bevis said.
Check out Sports on page A12 for more pictures and information of Wilson County athletes on signing day.