JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - While the drama isn't there this year, the excitement still is on National Signing Day for high school athletes all across north Florida and south Georgia.
Most of the top football players have either graduated early and are attending college already (for spring practice) or are firm commitments to the schools of their choice.
The one announcement everybody was waiting on was from Reggie Northrup of First Coast High School. Northrup was considered perhaps the best defensive player in the area and surprised quite a few people when he opened up his shirt and revealed that he was going to Florida State.
Northrup's commitment already makes the 'Noles signing class formidable.
Signing started early Wednesday morning at First Coast, Baker County, Fleming Island, University Christian, Atlantic Coast and other schools.
Bolles held their ceremony in the afternoon, with Georgia recruit John Theus signing his letter of intent. Theus was considered one of the top offensive linemen in the country. The Bulldogs' John Heck is headed to Chapel Hill and Brooks Abbott will play at Virginia Tech.
Clay, Episcopal, Bishop Kenny, Trinity and others also held afternoon ceremonies.
First Coast had eight signings and Baker County had three, including Thomas Sirk to Duke and Kendrick Signleton to North Carolina. Fleming Island had nine seniors sign, six for football and three for soccer, including Franz Claudio staying home to play for Jacksonville University.
University Christian is sending Dwayne Norman to Duke, and Hilliard's Marcus Allen is headed to Georgia Tech, as expected.
Clay's class of three has Will Holden going to Vandy, Caleb Slat to Princeton and Dez Williams to JU. Bishop Kenny's John Wolford headed a class of four for the Crusaders, headed to Boston College as expected. Episcopal's Shakeel Rasheed and Erich Schneider are staying in the ACC, going to UNC and Duke, respectively.
As good as they were this year, it's no surprise Bartram trail is sending five players to play at the next level, headed by QB Nathan Peterman to Tennessee. Creekside had two signees as well, sending one player to Kentucky, the other to Air Force.
Florida, Florida State, Georgia sign top classes
The Gators did not have any big surprises, but did reveal that Skyler Mornhinweg has committed to Florida. Mornhingweg, the son of former NFL head coach Marty Mornhinweg is a 6-3, 205-pound quarterback out of Pennsylvania who had verbally committed to Penn State. But after a visit to Gainesville, he said he thought Florida was a "better fit."
After missing on a few recruits Wednesday morning, Florida received some good news with a commitment from defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. of Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg. He had been committed to FSU but announced Wednesday morning that he'll be a Gator.
Florida has lost out on Mainland DE Leonard Williams, who decided to go to Southern Cal. WR Nelson Agholor from Tampa Berkeley also spurned the Gators and picked the Trojans. Agholor is considered the second best recruit in the state.
Meanwhile, FSU did sign a strong defensive line class including Eddie Goldman from Washington D.C. DT Mario Edwards also stuck with the Seminoles, giving them three of the top five DLs in the country. Jimbo Fisher also reached into Texas for cornerback Colin Blake. Blake decided on Tallahassee after rejecting Oklahoma and others.
Georgia received a commitment from Josh-Harvey Clemons, meaning the top recruit from Lowndes High School will stay at home. He picked the ‘Dogs over Florida and Florida State. Clemons was the No. 1 target for Mark Richt and company, and at 6 feet 4 inches tall and 210 pounds, he's expected to be an impact player right away.
Strangest thing I've heard of so far today? Justin Taylor was committed to Alabama, but at the last second, one of the top RBs in Atlanta switched to Kentucky and signed with the Wildcats. Kentucky? Over Alabama? Big win for them.
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