Crestview High School defensive end Denzel Ware, a longtime University of Kentucky commit, will sign his National Letter of Intent during a 10 a.m. ceremony in the school's media center. College football's National Signing Day is actually the start of a period of several weeks when a high school football player can sign with the college of his choice. It has become one of the most anticipated days on the college football calendar.


Crestview High School defensive end Denzel Ware, a longtime University of Kentucky commit, will sign his National Letter of Intent during a 10 a.m. ceremony in the school's media center.



College football's National Signing Day is actually the start of a period of several weeks when a high school football player can sign with the college of his choice. It has become one of the most anticipated days on the college football calendar.



But there was a time when no hoopla surrounded signing day. Back in the day, fans had to wait to see who signed with their team as players didn't hold press conferences to tell the world they had committed to Mid State U.



Signing day, which took place in December when I was in high school, was low key, with a few friends and relatives gathered in a player's home to celebrate the occasion. Sometimes, a member of the media would be in attendance to chronicle the big event.



My best friend, Ken Hardy, was good enough to sign with Auburn University. Ken was the first Gulf Breeze High School football player to play at a Southeastern Conference or major conference school.



In the days before cable and satellite TV, fans were fortunate to get two games a week. And it was considered a treat to see a friend or high school teammate on ABC's College Football Game of the Week.



When college football broadcasting legend Keith Jackson called a player's name on air, it gave credence to the athlete's hard work.



Everyone knows I'm a Tennessee guy, but I developed a soft spot in my heart for Auburn during Ken's playing days for the Tigers. I still consider Auburn my second favorite team in the SEC.



It has been almost 35 years since Ken played his last game at Auburn, but at reunions, old classmates still talk about the time they attended a game and saw Ken play college football.



I guess I'm going to be a closet Kentucky fan now ó at least while Denzel plays for the Wildcats. I'll pull for Kentucky every game, with the exception being the Tennessee game.



I'm guessing Crestview's Big Red Country will now have a tint of Kentucky blue on Saturdays in the fall as the Bulldog faithful cheer for Denzel and the Wildcats. And as college football broadcasts have saturated the airways, local fans will be able to watch most of Denzel's games at Kentucky.



If I know a thing or two about human nature, and I think I do, teammates and classmates will try to get to a Kentucky game so they can witness, in person, Denzel's college football journey.



I've been privileged to witness Denzel's high school football journey. And I'm excited for what the future holds for him.



Yes, Denzel Ware's college journey starts today. I wish him all the best.



Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletinís sports editor. Email him at randyd@crestviewbulletin.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.