Local athletes declare their college decisions on National Signing Day

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CLEVELAND — You see them every Friday night on FOX 8’s Friday Night Touchdown; you’ve watched their highlights; now you’re seeing their future.  Wednesday was National Signing Day across the country and hundreds of Northeast Ohio high school seniors put pen to paper and declared their college of choice. The ink is dry; the papers are signed; and parents are riding high.

No surprises, just plenty of smiles at Benedictine High School for one-time Florida commit, turned Ohio State Buckeye, Jerome Baker.

"It's a dream. You always say growing up you want to be a Buckeye; now that I'm signed and really going there, it's kind of unreal," Baker said.

Mentor's signing class was seven seniors strong.  Five football players put their John Hancock on the dotted line including quarterback Jake Floriea who takes his arm and his brain to the Ivy league to play for the University of Pennsylvania.

Each year the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and the Senate Athletic League's signing class keeps getting bigger and bigger. Twenty five student-athletes are headed off to college, including Tre'von Story who will play football at the University of Cincinnati.

What would National Signing Day be without the Friday Night Touchdown Player of the Year?  Hudson quarterback Mitch Guadagni is taking his talents to the University of Toledo.

Urban Meyer got plenty of Northeast Ohio talent including Nordonia's Denzel Ward.

"Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a Buckeye and now my dreams came true, so as soon as they offered, I jumped on it," Ward said.

They need a bigger stage at St. Ignatius, and a bigger hat for Dre'Mont Jones. The defensive end couldn’t fit his Ohio State hat over his hairdo.  He’ll be chanting O-H-I-O.

The Division I State football champion, St. Edward Eagles had to use the gym to fit all 24 of their signees on the same stage.  Among the group, wide receiver Alex Stump, who will play for the Buckeyes.

"It's an incredible feeling. It definitely is; it's a dream come true," Stump said.

In Kirtland, Tiger Laverde had plenty to smile about: Linebacker Matt Finkler is headed to Bowling Green.  What a day for Northeast Ohio.


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