Area student athletes take part in National Signing Day

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Wednesday is the traditional college football National Signing Day.

Back in December, though many blue chippers took advantage of a new early signing period.

So more football players signing their deals, along with athletes in other sports, here's a quick sampling of kids who finalized their plans for college and their athletic futures Wednesday.

Among those signing a Division One football scholarship, Freeport senior Shannon "Junior" Carswell, who signed with Southern Miss.

Carswell's a 6'4, 285 pound defensive lineman, a three year starter who's racked up 154 tackles, with 7 sacks and even two interceptions in his career.

It was not only a big day for Junior, but for Freeport athletics.

This is just the second D1 signing since 1994, and Junior's the only third Bulldog in school history to sign on the D1 level.

"To get an athletic football full-ride for an FBS school is an extreme privilege," Shaun Arntz, Freeport football coach said. "It's something that people have to work a tremendous amount for and it takes a lot of time. And you've got to be in the right place at the right time and there were a lot of times that he was. And just looking at him it's not hard to tell that people would want and go after him. Luckily, he backed it all up with his character, and his grades and his work ethic. So he's definitely deserving of it."

Moving south into South Walton Seahawks territory where many showed up to watch three football players put a pen to paper.

Bradley Robinson, a defensive lineman, signing with Maryville College, a school a couple hours south of Knoxville. Daniel Leuze, a two-way player, signing with Samford in Birmingham.

Another Maryville signee from South Walton is wide receiver Tanner Katowskie.

Over to Arnold, where two senior soccer players, who unfortunately, saw their seasons end Tuesday night, soothed those bad feelings by signing Wednesday.

Goalkeeper Aryss Gomez is moving on to Grambling in Louisiana.

And Emma Wilson, a center defender, who played just her senior season at Arnold, signing Wednesday with Troy University in south Alabama.

So a big day for two Lady Marlins.

"It's amazing, it's nothing like I've ever done, I am so excited," Emma Wilson, Arnold senior said.

"Well the only way I could pay for college was through athletics and scholarships," Aryss Gomez, Arnold senior said. "And being able to do what I love playing, and getting a scholarship for it means a lot."

And a short time later at Bay, Anthony Hayes, a 6'5, 215 defensive end signed with Coffeyville Junior College. That's an elite Juco program, which is a pathway for student athletes to continue playing ball while working on their academics, to help get them to D1 ball.

Up to Sneads, where quarterback Matt Thomas, who threw for over 2500 yards his senior season, signed on Wednesday with Point University, an NAIA school a couple hours southwest of Atlanta.

And in Port St. Joe Wednesday, Alvin Dempsey, a 6'2, 280 pound defensive lineman, signed on Wednesday with East Central Mississippi Community College.

Alvin in the middle there with his family, coaches, teachers and teammates.

Two more signings at Marianna, running back Werlean Pollock heading to South Alabama, and linebacker Deontre Rhynes signed with Edward Waters, an NAIA school in Jacksonville.

And at Mosley, six signings Wednesday, two for football, John Miller and Nari Masslieno.

Three for soccer, Tori Routt, Kristi Jones and Gracie Mullins.

Marybeth McGuire for golf, and Jordan Bullard in basketball.