SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Wednesday was National Signing Day, where high school students sign their National Letters of Intent to play college sports.
But like just about everything in this pandemic-era, their recruiting process was significantly different than those who came before them.
National Signing Day is a rite of passage for student-athletes that are taking their skills to the next-level. But in a pandemic, nothing is quite like it used to be. That includes their recruiting process.
“A lot of virtual visits over Zooms, over- just through the websites just doing those virtual visits and phone calls,” said Armon Mason, from Richmond Hill High who signed with Mississippi Valley State.
Not only were they not able to take traditional campus visits and sit-down with coaches and players, since the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility for seniors, many were worried there would no longer be room for them at the schools they hoped to suit up for.
“That’s why I went the JUCO route because there was like 25, 26-year-olds on the roster. It’s going to be hard to compete with 25, 26-year-olds,” said Thomas Higgins, from Appling County who signed to ABAC to play baseball.
“Towards the end of last year, they didn’t know if they were going to have spots on the team, and that was my number one school to go to, so it did stress me out,” said Grayson Brannen, from Wayne County who signed with ABAC to play softball.
Signing that letter of intent wasn’t just a rite of passage, for many it was a sigh of relief.
“2021, the class as a whole, I mean, we’ve kind of been just messed up by this whole pandemic obviously, but I think we’ve made the most of what we were given and I’m confident in where I’m going,” said Britton Williams, from Richmond Hill who signed to Georgia Southern.
One thing that didn’t change - the joy and gratitude that comes each year when students are able to use their abilities to further their education.