Tim Williams’ signing day story was a tale of two tables. Darian Claiborne got an early-morning haircut to make sure it looked just right, while Shelby Christy made sure his new colors were in full view.
The three Baton Rouge area standouts played for different high schools, but shared a special bond by signing football scholarships with Southeastern Conference schools Wednesday.
University High defensive end Williams (6-foot-4, 230 pounds), considered to be one of the state’s top five prospects, signed with Alabama.
Dutchtown’s Christy (6-3, 195) signed with Mississippi State as a wide receiver, and Port Allen’s Claiborne (6-1, 220), a linebacker, signed with Texas A&M.
The trio leads a large group of Baton Rouge area players to sign with out-of-state schools as the NCAA football signing period began.
“I sat at the table at my house and signed this morning before school,” said Williams, who committed to the Alabama last month. “I was excited about it. I talked with my family and everybody was pleased. My mom liked Alabama from the start.
“We talked about Alabama being the place where I’ll be for the next four years. I feel like I’m ready for that. I’m definitely glad there won’t be any more (recruiting) calls and stuff on websites about recruiting. I won’t miss that.”
Williams’ signing ceremony at UHS also included Cubs safety Jarrod Franklin, a Tulane signee. Each player had a separate table decked out in the colors of their school choice. Williams’ table included the houndstooth pattern that been associated with the Crimson Tide program since the days of legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Claiborne worried about being late to the Port Allen signing ceremony he shared with running back Jestin Kelly, a Grambling signee.
“I’m so happy,” Claiborne said. “I’ve been able to spend part of the day with my family hanging out and enjoying it. This morning, I was nervous.
“For some reason, I was worried about being late or something happening so I wouldn’t be able to sign today. But I knew I needed to get a haircut first, and I got there on time.”
Since Claiborne committed to A&M last summer, there was no surprise announcement. But he did don an Aggies baseball cap and spoke to the teachers, faculty and students on hand for the later signing ceremony.
Christy wore his regular school uniform, but added a special Mississippi twist by wearing an MSU T-shirt and windbreaker. Christy said family members who attended Dutchtown’s 12:30 p.m. signing ceremony for a group of players also wore Mississippi State T-shirts.
Like Claiborne, Christy committed over the summer. The exact date, Aug. 1, is something the Dutchtown standout said he’ll never forget.
“Other schools kept calling and contacting me, but my heart was with Mississippi State from the time I made my visit there,” Christy said. “I loved the school, and a chance to play as a freshman really appeals to me.
“I’m so happy to be a Bulldog. It was a long time coming, but I’m glad the recruiting part is finally over with.”
The SEC-bound trio led a solid group of out-of-state signees from Baton Rouge.
Southern Miss signed three players — Southern Lab receiver Marquise Ricard, Dutchtown kicker Tyler Sarrazin and Catholic High offensive lineman Cameron Tom.
Denham Springs running back Kaleb Blanchard signed with South Alabama, while Zachary receiver-return specialist Donald Gage signed with Houston.
St. Michael the Archangel quarterback Brandon Fields (Fordham), Plaquemine running back-receiver Hakeem Deggs (Northern Colorado), St. Michael linebacker Alex Ruch (Milsaps), McKinley linebacker Alvin Vaughn (Belhaven), St. Amant safety Jeffrey Williams (Missouri Southern) and Scotlandville defensive back Dondre Dobbins (Texas-San Antonio), were also part of the out-of-state list.
Central linebacker Thomas Eddlemon signed with Hendrix College, a Conway, Ark., school that is restarting its football program in 2013.
The Arkansas-bound group also includes a trio bound for Arkansas-Monticello — Central quarterback Brett Courville, Catholic offensive lineman Tyler Sparrow and Denham Springs linebacker Brody Guillot.
Three Baton Rouge area players are bound for Mississippi College — Catholic defensive back R.J. Jefferson, Dutchtown offensive lineman Billy Chandler and Dutchtown defensive back Justin Sampson.
McKinley defensive back Dave White (Arkansas-Pine Bluff) and Scotlandville receiver Larry Clark (Texas Southern) signed with Southwestern Athletic Conference schools. Another McKinley player, defensive lineman Shawn Tolbert, is expected to sign with Texas Southern on Thursday.