Wednesday was National Signing Day across the country and 66 athletes from Williamson County, and its surrounding private schools, signed National Letters of Intent to 45 different schools around the country.

Two schools stood out as favorites from student-athletes in the area as Martin Methodist signed five – all from Summit High School – and Furman University signed four.

The two schools have little in common. Martin is local, less than an hour away in Pulaski, TN while Furman is almost a six-hour drive away in Greenville, SC.

Look a little deeper though and you can see the connection that brought the Paladins to Centennial’s Deon Sanders, Brentwood Academy’s Aaquil Annoor, Christ Presbyterian’s Matthew Custadero, and Ravenwood’s Austin Percy.

Three members of Furman’s football staff are Vanderbilt University graduates, including recruiting coordinator Norval McKenzie.

“Of course having Vanderbilt men on staff is just an added bonus for us when recruiting the Williamson County area,” he said. “We felt that all of them would be assets to our program as well as Furman University being an asset to their lives.”

McKenzie gives Tim Sorrells a majority of credit for landing these four. He is a Tennessee native and has been recruiting the state for 30 years.

More on the players

Deon Sanders: a 6-foot, 209-pound running back who saw action at six positions. He rushed for 3,500 yards and 44 touchdowns in high school.

“Deon is a young man who intrigued us with his size and versatility,” McKenzie said. “His highlight video showed him doing a lot of things on film, from running through people and running around them. He also showed the ability to block, which a lot of backs struggle with.”

Aaquil Annoor: a 5-foot-10, 160-pound defensive back, Annoor can play both corner back and safety at the next level.

“We knew that he was a really good football player in a really good football program,” he said. “He showed that he had ball skills, willing to tackle, and could make plays. He is not that big in stature, but makes up for it with heart, ability, and effort.”

Matthew Custadero: a 6-foot-4, 165-pound punter who has the ability to consistently hit 50-yard punts.

“Our kicker last year had all three duties and we would love to relieve him of one of them,” he said. “Matthew is a great addition.”

Austin Percy: a 6-foot-3, 190-pound wide receiver, Percy was a late addition to Furman, committing just days before Signing Day. He had 54 catches for 935 yards with six touchdowns in 2014.

For the rest of our National Signing Day coverage, click here.