Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sports column

February 5, 2014

Column: Signing day is now upon us

— National Signing Day has arrived. The first Wednesday of February is always one of the biggest days of the college football season, even if it is a month or more since the last game was played.

Today is when West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Marshall, Virginia, Concord and all other NCAA-affiliated schools will restock their rosters for the future. (Bluefield College is an NAIA school, which doesn’t observe national signing day).

That is how schools replace all those players who either graduate, transfer, drop out of school or leave early for the NFL.

Beginning early this morning, high school seniors from across the nation will be faxing in their letters of intent to play football at the school of their choice.

There was a time when this wasn’t such a big deal, although it always has been big in the South, particularly in the SEC. The influx of media attention means it gets plenty of coverage, including 11 hours today from ESPNU today, and another 15 from College Sports Today on SiriusXM Channel 91.

The Daily Telegraph, and other West Virginia newspapers under CNHI ownership, will be providing coverage as well, including tweeting of signings once they are official, along with online updates as the day moves along.

This will include signings from all four major regional universities, along with Concord and any local signings, which will include C.J. Lester of Mount View, who will be committing to the University of Charleston.

Princeton’s Devin Allen will be signing today with Concord University, and Christian Marshall will be inking with Glenville State.

I will be tweeting out signings for Virginia Tech and others throughout the day. You can follow me @bdtwoodson.

The Register-Herald in Beckley will be doing the same for West Virginia and Marshall. Check out @CamHuffmanRH for the Mountaineers,and @GFauber for the Thundering Herd. I am relatively new at tweeting so be patient. I am like one of these recruits, still figuring all this out.

There will be recaps of each of the signing classes in Thursday’s Daily Telegraph, and much more on Sunday.

We will be publishing a special section on National Signing Day in Sunday’s edition that will combine the efforts of three different sports departments in West Virginia, and providing more in-depth coverage regionally and nationally for what transpires in college football today.

It will include articles on overall signings, biographies of each player, a column with analysis of each regional school’s class and a special focus on a few of those recruits.

Who are some of the names to watch for today? How about much-needed running back recruits Marshawn Williams and Shai McKenzie at Virginia Tech, and five-star commitments for Virginia from Andrew Brown and Quin Blanding.

West Virginia could get a pair of four-star standouts in quarterback William Crest and defensive back Dravon Henry, while Marshall could reel in three-s star wide receiver Demetrius Johnson and offensive lineman Nathaniel Devers.

Some have signed and are already on campus, but most have given only a verbal commitment. Nothing, however, is official until the fax arrives with the signature on the dotted line.

National Signing Day isn’t for everyone. Few, if anyone, has heard much about most of the athletes that will be on recruiting lists today. Some will become vital parts of your favorite programs in the next few years, and others may not pan out at all. It will take a few years to know for sure.

That is what today is all about, the possibilities of finding a class full of athletes that may just have that touch of magic your program needs.

The newest Mountaineers, Hokies, Thundering Herd, Cavaliers, Mountain Lions and more will become official today.

Sign on and get ready. The recruits aren’t just coming, they are here.

*****

Brian Woodson is the sports editor for the Daily Telegraph. He can be contacted at bwoodson@bdtonline.com or on Twitter @bdtwoodson.

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