There should be an exciting atmosphere in the Muscle Shoals High School auditorium late this morning.
At 11 a.m., ESPN cameras will broadcast live the decision of blue-chip football recruit Dee Liner, who will officially sign with a college football program.
Liner’s announcement is one of the most anticipated in the state, if not the region, on national signing day, the first day high school seniors can sign with a college.
Rated one of the top defensive lineman prospects nationally, Liner verbally committed to Auburn before his junior year but backed out in January after the firing of former Tigers coach Gene Chizik.
Liner visited Georgia last weekend. His friend, Auburn High School linebacker Reuben Foster, verbally committed to Alabama on television Monday night after also decommitting from Auburn in January.
In all, seven players from Muscle Shoals are expected to sign today, the most of any area school.
“It should be a fun atmosphere,” Trojans coach Scott Basden said. “We always have a signing day event for the kids every year. The biggest thing is ESPN is going to be here is year. Rece Davis, he’s a Muscle Shoals graduate and he’s supposed to do an interview with Dee, so it’s neat for everybody.”
In addition to Liner, offensive guard Blake Copeland (Navy) also will sign with a Division I program.
Wide receiver Javian Ramson is expected to sign with Samford, and cornerback Levi Fell with UNA.
Running backs Jamarcus Nance (UNA, Miles College) and Tyler Jackson (UNA, Miles College, Northeast Mississippi Community College) also will make decisions.
Defensive lineman Brian Kilpatrick will sign with Bethel College (Tenn.).
The signing class matches Basden’s largest at Muscle Shoals. Seven Trojans also signed in 2011.
In all, at least 25 seniors from area high schools are expected to sign today.
At Florence, six players are expected to sign, five with Division I schools. There shouldn’t be any surprises, though, as all have already verbally committed.
Linebacker Rashawn Smith did so with Ole Miss in September and should make it official today.
Cornerback Jamaris Hart and linebacker Irving Adams have both pledged to Arkansas State, while cornerback Jordan Petty and wide receiver J.J. Green have committed to UAB.
Florence offensive lineman Laurence Carmichael is expected to sign with UNA.
“We have five Division I guys signing, which I think for Florence is pretty good,” first-year Falcons coach Jamey DuBose said. “Not only did we get kids signed, but I think we got kids into good institutions both for football and academics. Pretty much all the seniors who wanted scholarships, they were able to get one. We have some other guys who still have a chance with some smaller schools.
“In particular, I’m proud to see Irving Adams, who also had some (FCS) offers, get a late offer to Arkansas State. He was playing offense but moved to defense when (the new coaching staff) got here. To make a transition like that, adjust to new a staff and follow up with an offer like that speaks well of him.”
Elsewhere, Hamilton quarterback Mitch Stults is expected to sign with Murray State.
Russellville’s Logan Ezzell, Jordan Gist, Tyler Boyd and Bud Coleman all appear headed to UNA.
Lauderdale County athlete DJ Simmons (UT-Martin); end Brian Puckett (UNA, West Alabama, Birmingham Southern) and lineman Tyler Smith (Miles, UNA) also will sign.
Colbert Heights quarterback Cole Claunch and lineman Trey Jaco will sign with Campbellsville (Ky.).
And Red Bay running back/linebacker Matt Belue will sign with Northeast Mississippi.
Bryan App can be reached at 256-740-5730 or email@example.com.