In a ceremony at 7:30 this morning at Cranford High School, offensive lineman Matt Fries became the first Big Central Conference football player to signing on the dotted line to join to attend the college of his choice for 2022-23. His National Letter of Intent has been signed, sealed and delivered (electronically, of course) to the University of Illinois, where he’ll play Big Ten football next fall.
Several others are expected to sign today, while some will wait until the February signing date as they await other college offers, a process that has been delayed somewhat since the pandemic – especially at smaller schools – thanks to extra years of eligibility for college student-athletes and the proliferation of the transfer portal.
Central Jersey Sports Radio will be talking to local he student-athletes today as they make their decisions official, and will update this story with photos and audio as they become available.
Below is a list of players from each school, which college they are expected to sign or have signed with with, and the approximate time they’re expected to sign and send in their NLI, if they haven’t already.
Matt Fries – University of Illinois
Thomas Amankwaa – Rutgers University
Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, on Amankwaa, at today’s signing day presser:
“All he did was go out and have a tremendous senior year, like blew the doors off it. Something opened up, fortunately, and I think we’re getting a really spectacular — I think the biggest decision is do you play him on offense or play him on defense? Fran and Tiquan are fighting over this guy. So we’ll see. I think he’s not only a great player, but a great athlete.”
Isaiah Cherry – University of Delaware
Our 6th and final signee is another elite playmaker from the state of New Jersey! Please join us in welcoming @Isaiah2Cherry to the Blue Hen Family!#BleedBlue302 | #BlueHens | #NationalSigningDay pic.twitter.com/ZD4EvLsqvL— Delaware Football (@DelawareFB) December 15, 2021
Brandon Feury – Marist College
Tahmir Ellis – Delaware State University
FULL STORY with AUDIO: Plainfield’s Ellis feels like he helped start something for the Cardinals, as he heads to Delaware State
Last Touchdown As A Plainfield Cardinal— Tahmir Ellis (@TheRealTahmirr_) November 27, 2021
35 catches 519 yards 14.2 yards per catch catch 8 Touchdowns pic.twitter.com/TiFWnVamgr
Jai Patel – Rutgers University
Omar Abdelaziz – Wagner College
Brian Rawls – Colgate University
Jai Patel signing!! pic.twitter.com/4hTGugw052— SBHS Athletics (@GoSBVikings) December 15, 2021
It remains a mystery where the Big Central’s most highly-sought after recruit – Union athlete/DB Davison Igbinosun – will sign, but it appears he may be waiting until the All-American Bowl on January 8th. Union head coach Lou Grasso Jr. told Central Jersey Sports Radio that last week, but Igbinosun stirred the Internet Tuesday night with a Twitter graphic showing him and his brother Desmond, who’s currently at Rutgers, saying “Brothers for Life” adding “Next stop… Rutgers.”
That tweet posted at 8:49 p.m., and stood on its own for about 40 minutes, until 9:29 pm, when three more posts were made, showing similar recruiting-style graphics from Ole Miss, Tennessee and Kentucky, just three more among the 30-plus major D-1 offers Igbinosun holds, according to Grasso.