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By John Harte / Special to The Californian
BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
For many fans of high school football and college football, following recruiting has become a way of life, and the first Wednesday in February has become Christmas morning.
That's tomorrow: National Signing Day, the first day of the period in which high school football players can sign binding national letters of intent to attend a specific college. For many of the top recruits around the country, it's a day of drama, with different hats on tables and hidden T-shirts and even pets and tattoos.
Here in Kern County, though, National Signing Day has been less theatrical and more ceremonial. Even when a recruit changes his mind — like Ridgeview DB Shannon Edwards did last year, moving from UCLA to Fresno State — news is out before signing day. The most heralded recruit to come out of Bakersfield in the past decade was QB Cody Kessler, and he had to come back from USC to join his Centennial teammates at a "signing" party.
That doesn't mean tomorrow is insignificant, of course; it's just that we know what to expect. Four schools are holding signing ceremonies tomorrow, and all of them include at least one Division I football player. In addition, talented Stockdale running back D.J. Martin is expected to sign with Eastern Washington tomorrow, though Stockdale typically honors all of its Division I athletes at the end of the school year in one event.
Here are the Division I football signees expected to sign tomorrow:
Ridgeview DB Kamari Cotton-Moya, Iowa State
Centennial WR Andrew Daughtery, Air Force
Liberty RB Corbin Jountti, Northern Arizona
Stockdale RB D.J. Martin, Eastern Washington
Liberty OL/LS Cole Mazza, Alabama
Garces OL Keoni Taylor, San Jose State
In addition, several former Kern County prep athletes signed with teams out of junior colleges: QB Brian Burrell (Fresno State), TE Mike Dunn (Fresno State) and DB Mercy Maston (Boise State) out of Bakersfield College; and QB Tyler Ferguson (Penn State) out of College of the Sequoias.
This isn't necessarily a comprehensive list; tomorrow is just the first day of the signing period, so more athletes could accept scholarship offers between now and April 1 (and even afterward, though that wouldn't involve an official signing). It also doesn't include players going to smaller-division schools or junior colleges or players who plan to walk on at D-I schools.
National Signing Day also isn't all about football. Many local baseball players, soccer players, swimmers and cross country runners are also signing tomorrow (or in the next several days). I've also listed a few athletes who signed in the November early signing period for their sport but are being honored by high school tomorrow.
Nicolette Aldape, Shafter girls cross country — CSUB
Brena Andrews, Independence girls track and field — Nebraska
Dakota Baze, Liberty girls soccer — Hawaii-Hilo
Cassie Boyer, Centennial girls soccer — Cal Poly Pomona
Evan Bowman, Bakersfield cross country — Mt. Mercy (Iowa) University
Corbin Burnes, Centennial baseball — St. Mary's
Noelle Farrer, Garces diving — Fresno State
Cassie Handel, Garces softball — Vanguard University
McKenna Painton, Centennial volleyball — Cal State Fullerton
Cassidy Swift, Garces girls soccer — CSUB
Cambria Tudor, Shafter girls cross country — Iowa State
If you know of a signing tomorrow or later in this signing period I don't have listed, leave a comment or email me at email@example.com. We want to be as comprehensive as possible.