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National Signing Day on Rocky Top looks different in 2021

Athletes across the nation are signing Wednesday and many Tennessee fans will be watching to see the future of Rocky Top.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It's National Signing Day on Rocky Top. 

Athletes across the nation are signing Wednesday and many Tennessee fans will be watching to see the future of Rocky Top.

However, this year it's taking some extra planning to make it work. 

With the addition of an early signing period and a recent coaching change, the buzz is different this year on Rocky Top. 

"There's a chance this is the quietest signing day we've ever seen following Tennessee recruiting," said Ryan Callahan of 247 Sports.

Across East Tennessee, schools will continue to host ceremonies to celebrate athletes that are signing to play sports in college. 

However, compared to years in the past, this year's celebrations are being scaled down.

"You know...we put this off because of COVID and not everyone being in school," said Webb School Athletic Director David Meske. "So now, we're starting to do these celebrations."

Athletes at Webb School normally celebrate indoors, but this year they will be recognized outside in the school's courtyard to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"It's just very important for us to keep everybody safe," Meske said. 

Regardless of who signs where or how many athletes sign this week, one thing hasn't changed. 

Wednesday's signings are a reflection of years of sacrifices and hard work put in by athletes and their families. 

While there may not be the same annual hoopla that usually surrounds National Signing Day, for those close to the athletes that are signing it will still be a time to celebrate.

"We want to make sure that we recognize them for all that they have done for our school," Meske said.