The first Wednesday in February used to be a big day in the world of college football recruiting.
Before this school year, it had traditionally been the first day that colleges could sign high school football recruits to national letters of intent.
But with the NCAA instituting an early signing period, starting this school year on Dec. 20, many of the highest-profile athletes made their college decision official that day. So Feb. 7 is now like an aging car in the driveway, still useful but not as flashy or tempting as the new model from the showroom floor.
While the majority of local prep football players have been signed and sealed for more than a month, some waited to decide.
Some wanted to keep looking while others hoped to attract attention after the hoopla surrounding the early period died down and colleges reassessed their needs.
A few significant seniors in Minnesota will be signing intent national letters of intent Wednesday.
Eden Prairie’s Antonio Montero, the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year and winner of the 2018 Mr. Football award, will sign with Rice University.
Elk River lineman Ronald Audette will sign with Oregon State, the school that, at the last minute, convinced him to hold off on his original intent to sign with North Dakota State.
Prior Lake’s Zach Whaley, who was nearly unblockable as a three-techinque defensive lineman last fall, will sign with Kent State. His teammate, running back Jordan Johnson, will make it official with South Carolina State, while DeLaSalle’s Jevon Brekke, a 6-3, 185-pound athlete, selected Northern Iowa over Indiana State and Navy.
A few of the top players in the class of 2018 have yet to find a future home. Cooper linebacker Onte Burns had committed to Montana State, but the offer was pulled. Burns still is looking, as is Burnsville athlete Tre Thomas and Minnetonka defensive back Nehemiah Montague. Both hold offers from Northern Iowa but have not committed.
Wednesday is not just for football. It’s the first day that colleges can sign soccer recruits. Minnesota has a bunch, including more than 40 metro area girls expected to sign with Division I or II colleges.