It was another year where the impact of National Signing Day was felt greatly throughout Ascension parish as 12 athletes signed scholarships to continue their careers at the next level.
No school was affected greater than East Ascension. After a resurgent 8-2 season that saw them reach the second round of the playoffs for the first time in eight years, seven Spartans signed their names to the dotted line.
Leading the charge was running back Sione Palelei. Palelei was off to a torrid start this year as he ran for 710 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first four games, but he was forced to miss the rest of the year with an ACL tear that he suffered against Lutcher.
Prior to the season, he committed to LSU but after making a recruiting visit to Stillwater in December, he fell in love with Oklahoma State. As a result, Palelei decided that being a Cowboy was the best choice for him.
Last Wednesday, he made it official as he sat alongside his six teammates.
Joining him were two Nicolls State signees in cornerback Tyler Green and defensive lineman Devin Simoneaux. Both players were second-team All-District 5-5A selections this past season.
Linebacker Deandre Darville and defensive lineman Dominique Williams also decided to stay in state. They both signed with Louisiana College.
Darville was this year's District 5-5A Defensive MVP. He was also an All-Metro and All-State performer as he collected 92 total tackles and nine tackles for loss.
Williams was a first-team all-district selection.
Finally, linebacker JaLon Watts and offensive lineman Mason Bateman both signed with the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Watts was a second-team all-district player this year while Bateman was honorable mention.
Out at Dutchtown, versatile athlete Torrance Mosley and speedy receiver Corey McBride ended a trying week with commitments to TCU.
Both players originally committed to Arkansas over the summer but with just a week before signing day, the Razorbacks inexplicably revoked their scholarship offers.
After getting over the initial shock and frustration, Mosley and McBride had to do some last-minute scrambling to schedule a recruiting visit to TCU. Soon afterward, they both committed to play with the Horned Frogs.
Mosley was a first-team all-district selection as an athlete this past year. He will make the transition to cornerback at TCU, but he will also continue to return kicks.
McBride--a two-sport standout--also plans to join the Horned Frog track team.
Speaking of track, Tyler Hughes signed a scholarship with ULL. He is also a two-sport star for the Griffins.
In addition to being a first-team all-district and All-Metro football player, he flourished on the track and now, he plans on continuing that career in Lafayette.
Also on Wednesday, offensive lineman Trey Gallman signed on to become a preferred walk-on at LSU.
Gallman was a first-team all-district and All-Metro offensive lineman this year; he also made All-State as Dutchtown went 8-2, won a share of the district title and made it to the state quarterfinals.
Gallman had a scholarship offer from Southeastern but decided to chase his dream of one day playing in Death Valley instead. He will make the transition to fullback in Baton Rouge.
A preferred walk-on--also known as a recruited walk-on--is an athlete recruited by a program but not offered a scholarship for the first year. Often times, the player will be assured a roster spot before committing to the school and receive many privileges that scholarship athletes enjoy.
And signing day is already looking up for next year. Head coach Benny Saia announced that TCU head coach Gary Patterson has offered defensive back Justin Reid--the younger brother of Eric Reid--a 2015 scholarship.
To end the day, two St. Amant Gators joined Green and Simoneaux as they signed with Nicolls State.
Cornerback Jonavon Lewis and defensive lineman Tyler Johnson became the newest Colonels.
Lewis was a first-team all-district selection, and Johnson made honorable mention this past year as they helped St. Amant go 6-4 and make a run to the playoffs.
For a photo gallery of all the athletes in the Gonzales area that signed, log onto weeklycitizen.com.