Student athletes put pen to paper on national signing day

(Gray Television)
Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 11:20 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Wednesday was national signing day for the early signing period as student athletes put pen to paper, signing to play college sports.

Georgia Southern’s new head coach, Clay Helton, is just over a month into the job, but he and his new staff signed 20 players - 17 from the state of Georgia.

They can sign 25 and even more if current players decide to leave, but Helton says they’re keeping an eye on the transfer portal as well.

“We have literally lived in this film room in the dark, you know, the past weeks- not only watching young kids, but transfer portal players, so we can get every opportunity and see what is best for us moving forward. It was part of our game plan to be able to save some opportunities for later. We didn’t want to reach on anybody, and we really felt like we got our first-round draft picks with these 20 men, and then we decided that we were going to hold for possible opportunities not only in January but in the spring,” Helton said.

They signed 10 players on each side of the ball, including two quarterbacks.

Over in Columbia, the biggest prize for USC Coach Shane Beamer on this signing day is a guy with college experience.

Spencer Rattler is transferring from Oklahoma after three years with the Sooners. A former 5-star recruit, Rattler entered this season as a strong Heisman contender.

Instead he struggled. He was benched and decided he would transfer from Oklahoma.

Rattler is familiar with Beamer. Prior to USC he was on OU’s staff for two years.

“What I saw with him during my time at Oklahoma, I saw a guy that wants to win, is immensely talented, comes from a great family... a guy that has faced adversity and has always responded. Certainly this season didn’t go the way he intended it to be. You go into this season thinking you’re going to be the number one draft pick and the Heisman trophy winner and you end up not even being the starting quarterback, but he didn’t let that dictate the outcome and what would be the next step for him,” said Beamer.

Less than a week removed from winning a state championship, Benedictine’s Holden Geriner signed with Auburn. This year Geriner threw for over 3,300 yards and 36 touchdowns - throwing 71 in his BC career.

ESPN had him as the number 9 quarterback in the class and he said he is early enrolling at Auburn. So after the holidays, he’s off to college.

“I just want to go in there and just get to know everybody like I said and just, you know, hopefully I can make an impact early,” Geriner said.

He definitely has a shot at making an impact. Days ago the Tigers starting quarterback, Bo Nix, announced that he was transferring. Some more local stand-outs signed today as well ... over at Savannah Country Day, quarterback Barry Kleinpeter signed with New Hampshire ... and his wide receiver, Kenny Odom signed with Austin Peay.

Over at Southeast Bulloch, wide receiver Tyler Griffin signed his national letter of intent to suit up for UCF.

All three agreed that today was truly a milestone.

“It’s really crazy dreams coming true, you know? I always wanted to do this as a kid,” Griffin said.

“It means everything, it’s just something that you dream about since you were a little kid, so to be able to put it on paper and finally be signed to play college football is everything,” Barry Kleinpeter said.

“It’s a dream come true, really. As long as I can remember I knew I wanted to play football at the next level, so it’s just a special day for me and my family,” Kenny Odom said.

February 2 is National Signing Day for the regular signing period.

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