SIDELINE OBSERVATIONS: Denzel's big day has arrived

Published: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 06:17 PM.

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.

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