COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Colerain senior defensive lineman/linebacker Eric Phillips dreamed of National Signing Day.
Senior offensive lineman Rusty Feth said the day still felt unbelievable. And senior linebacker/fullback Ivan Pace Jr. can’t wait to play with three of his teammates in college.
Christmas came six days early for several area high school football standouts Wednesday as the NCAA’s Early Signing Period for college football kicked off. The period runs through Friday.
Colerain (14-1), the Division I state runner-up this past season, had five Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) signees: Phillips; Feth; Pace, the Division I state defensive player of the year; defensive back/running back Syncere Jones; and linebacker Luke Bolden.
“They are special young men,” said former Colerain coach Tom Bolden, who recently was named the Lakota West coach. “Special athletes. I will remember the touchdowns, the tackles and the sacks – all that stuff. What I will remember the most is just them – who they are. For their smiles, hugs and frustrating the heck out of me at times and the kicks in the butts I had to give them. I will miss them dearly. This is just the next chapter for them. Plain and simple. They are moving on to bigger things. It’s going to be very, very special.”
Bolden lauded the players and their families in a ceremony at the school auditorium. Phillips said words couldn’t express how happy he was to officially be a UC Bearcat.
“Today means a lot – to see my family happy,” Phillips said. “I am not going to cry, but it’s very emotional for me.”
Luke Bolden, Tom's son, will enroll early at Miami University and start classes in mid-January.
“Things are changing for the good there,” Luke Bolden said. “We are on a roll, especially playing with my brothers. That is a big impact.”
Jones wore his Miami hat proudly and smiled when discussing his future there.
“I think every one of the commits can come in and make a real good impact on the team,” Jones said. “So you are going to see a show the next four years for sure.”
Other Miami University signees from the area included Covington Catholic tight end Jack Coldiron and Mount Healthy defensive lineman Lonnie Phelps.
La Salle hosted a ceremony Wednesday afternoon that included UC signee Brody Ingle. While he verbally committed to the Bearcats in April, Ingle said it was a very significant day. He has set aside the Colerain-versus-La Salle rivalry and become friends with Phillips. Ingle signed his National Letter of Intent via text message.
Like Phillips, Ingle spoke with UC coach Luke Fickell and defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman within the past 24 hours.
“Right away, coach Freeman told me I will have a chance to go in right away and pretty much determine my future there,” Ingle said.
Ingle said the Bearcats’ success this season made his signing all the more special. UC (10-2) will play Virginia Tech (6-6) in the Military Bowl on Dec. 31.
“We have the majority of our leaders back – it’s going to be a good team,” Ingle said.
The NCAA’s regular signing period for football is Feb. 6. There will be additional signings at that time from other high school football standouts.