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