RICHMOND HILL, GA (WTOC) - National Signing Day, Part 1 was a quiet one for the Low Country and Coastal Empire, with only a few players inking their letters of intent Wednesday during the first ever early signing period.
Over at Richmond Hill, three Wildcat standouts made their school choices official.
Star receiver Sam James will play at West Virginia, while fellow wideout Justin Jeffery is headed to North Carolina-Charlotte. Kicker Joseph Petrino is taking his talents to the University of Maryland.
"It's amazing. They're two of my really good friends," Jeffery said. "I'm just happy for my family and their family. You know, we don't have to pay for school. You can't ask for anything more."
"I'm extremely grateful for everything the University of Maryland has done for me," Petrino says. "Offering me a scholarship, putting their faith in me. I just hope I can fulfill their trust, and become a great contributor to the team."
One of the best moments of the ceremony came when James went to speak. One of the best wide receivers in Georgia this year, the Mountaineer signee was overcome with emotion. That was never more evident than when he went to thank his mother.
Reviews on the early signing period have been mixed among college and high school coaches, but these Wildcats were more than willing to take advantage of the new opportunity.
"Just get the pressure off, you know?" Jeffery explained. "The early signing day was put in place for this exactly, so why not use it?"
"I'm excited for a lot of other guys that may not have gotten an opportunity if they had waited until February to fall into a spot and play at a little higher level," Richmond Hill head coach Matt LeZotte said.
OTHER AREA SIGNEES:
Jonah Griffin (Benedictine): Furman
Jaylen Jenkins (Brunswick): Georgia Tech
Tyquan Johnson (Screven Co.): South Carolina
Tyrone Scott (Jenkins): Central Michigan
Terrick Smalls, Jr. (Benedictine): UNC Charlotte