Carver High has a history of producing top-notch college talent on the football field. This season's signing class was no different.
While there weren't as many high-profile athletes inking their names to letters of intent on signing day Wednesday, six players -- including highly coveted wide receiver Marqui Hawkins -- did make their moves to the next level official.
Signing with Hawkins were Anthony Kimble and Jaquan Sanks (Globe Institute of Technology, a junior college in New York), Danny Ryles and Toddrick Johnson (West Georgia Technical College, a junior college in Douglasville) and John Thomas (Miles College).
Hawkins, avoiding suspense, signed with the University of Florida as expected after committing to the school nine months ago. He passed on offers to Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and Southern California, among others.
The 6-foot-2 wide receiver will compete with a slew of signees at the position with the Gators, though coach Dell McGee and Hawkins both believe the opportunity for early playing time is there.
"I see myself playing early at Florida at the receiver position," Hawkins said.
Hawkins, listed as a three-star recruit by most scouting services, notched 423 yards and six touchdowns receiving in a run-heavy offense in 2012. Facing double-coverages on most passing downs and spending a lot of time blocking for the run game, McGee said Hawkins is an unselfish player who can succeed at the next level.
"He works hard and he's an unselfish guy," McGee said. "He's willing to do what it takes, whether that means blocking or catching the football."
McGee said the same about the other players who signed.
"The kids do a great job of coming into the program and buying into the program, working all four years," McGee said. "It takes a great commitment on and off the football field. It's a proud day for me, the coaches and definitely our school."
Sanks said that the first commitment for him was the off-the-field part. He knows he won't have a hard time doing what it takes to improve athletically, so he's putting an emphasis on his education as he goes forward.
"I'm really going for the academics," he said. "Football's never really a problem. You can always strive to be better, but I'm really going up there to focus on my education."
Ryles, Thomas and Johnson each played sizeable roles in the team's offensive success, helping establish the running game that proved so successful.
Johnson, an offensive lineman, and Thomas, a center, helped block for more than 4,500 yards of total offense in 2012.
McGee willingly admitted that the 2012 class doesn't have the same next-level talent as some in the past (think Jarvis Jones and Isaiah Crowell), but he insists the opportunity is there for these players and others if they continue to improve.
"This is one of our least-talented groups," he said. "At the same time, we continue to work and get several more of our kids signed somewhere over the next month or so. Our work is not done yet."