For two Highlands Ranch athletes, the beginning of the 2018 Early Signing Day period brought a sense of relief.

"It feels great," Austin Johnson said. "I'm glad the process is done and I can move on to the next chapter of my life."

Johnson and longtime teammate Drake Nugent both signed National Letters of Intent to play football for Division I programs in the school's auditorium on Wednesday afternoon.

Nugent, who starred as a center and defensive end for the Falcons, committed to play at Stanford. Johnson, who played guard and defensive tackle, is heading to the University of Colorado.

"(The recruitment process) was kind of overwhelming at times. This whole year it really picked up," Nugent said. "That was a big weight off my back getting accepted."

The college-bound duo helped lead Highlands Ranch to playoff appearances each of the past three years.

They will now play on opposite sides of the field as Pac-12 Conference opponents.

OTHER EARLY D-I FOOTBALL COMMITS

Elijah Anderson-Taylor (Eaglecrest), Northern Colorado

Alijah Bates (Doherty), Arizona State

Garrett Beckman (Greeley West), UNLV

Jeremiah Blackwood (Vista PEAK), Northern Colorado

Carson Brantley (Cherry Creek), Northern Colorado

Ryan Capasso (Broomfield), Northern Colorado

Trey Cardenas (Loveland), Northern Colorado

Aidan Cullen (Palmer Ridge), Colorado State

Joshia Davis (Valor Christian), Colorado

Ethan Drewes (Skyline), Northern Colorado

Ty Evans (Palmer Ridge), North Carolina State

Kurt Gallup (Aurora Central), Northern Colorado

Kyle Helbig (Holy Family), Colorado State

Wind Henderson (Mullen), Northern Colorado

David Hoage (Smoky Hill), Northern Colorado

Hayden Isenhart (Grandview), Montana State

Aiden Kneller (Cherry Creek), New Mexico

Michael Lynn (Cherry Creek), Nebraska

Kiahn Martinez (Regis Jesuit), Idaho

Luke McCaffrey (Valor Christian), Nebraska

Kain Medrano (Pueblo East), UCLA

Barrett Miller (Eaglecrest), Stanford

Marcus Miller (Cherry Creek), Harvard

Jon Nuschy (La Junta), Northern Colorado

Cole Oster (Castle View), Montana State

Alex Padilla (Cherry Creek), Iowa

Dominick Pallotto (Cherry Creek), Air Force

Alec Pell (Cherry Creek), Colorado

Billy Pospisil (Pomona), Washington State

Cian Quiroga (Valor Christian), Colorado State

Brad Roberts (Ralston Valley), Air Force

Theorius Robison (Pomona), Northern Colorado

Anthony Rosenstrauch (Palmer Ridge), Air Force

David Ross (Pomona), Northern Colorado

Ben Schneider (Ralston Valley), Northern Colorado

Hadyn Steffens (Rocky Mountain), Northern Colorado

Corey Tate (Denver East), Northern Colorado

Michael Thompson (Aurora Central), Northern Colorado

Isaac Townsend (Ralston Valley), Oregon

Jake Wiley (Eaglecrest), Colorado

Ethan Zemla (Valor Christian), Penn