Bethune-Cookman called first thing Wednesday morning.
Called Wharton defensive end Antonio Joseph. Called Wharton athletic director Kent Glover. Called head coach David Mitchell.
One message: Get those signing day papers in that fax machine.
"They knew they were getting a steal,'' Glover said, with a chuckle. "They wanted to make sure he signed those papers."
Joseph was one of four Wildcat athletes to sign in the school's media center, along with football teammate Daniel Ibsen (Wheaton College), boys soccer player Jordan Lue (UCF) and boys tennis player Samuel Chaffin (Florida Gulf Coast University).
Joseph, a 6-5, 215-pound defensive end who had 32 tackles and two sacks this past season, said the excitement felt by Bethune-Cookman was reciprocal. He picked the Wildcats, the only team he took an official visit with, over FIU, FAU, Middle Tennessee, Georgia Southern and Air Force.
"I called a few schools after the dead period, and a lot of coaches told me they were full, but I called BCU and they were happy to have me,'' Joseph said.
One of his hosts on his visit to BCU, former Jefferson record-setting quarterback Quentin Williams, "told me I was going to love it here. It's close to home, which is what I really wanted. And I loved it when I visited."
As a junior, Joseph had a breakout season with over 60 tackles and 4.5 sacks after converting from defensive back. He was ranked No. 46 amongst all Tampa Bay football players by the Times in the summer series HomeTeam100.
"I think he sealed it with three sacks in the all-star game and being named defensive MVP for the East team,'' said Mitchell. "They are getting a great steal. He's a great student in the classroom, well-disciplined, comes from a great family. They sky's the limit for Antonio. You're going to hear great things from him."
Ibsen, a 6-3, 220-pound defensive end and linebacker, chose Wheaton (Ill.) College because he wanted to attend a Christian college. He considered Stetson as well.
And the 7-degree weather on his official visit to the Chicago-area school did not not sway him to stay in-state.
"I fell in love with it,'' Ibsen said. "I'll just need to buy some warm clothes and I'll be fine."
Lue played soccer for Wharton his freshman and sophomore seasons, then decided to play year-round soccer for the Clearwater Chargers program. A midfielder, Lue was one of more than 20 players in the Chargers program to sign Wednesday.
Chaffin was a district champion at No. 1 singles last year for the Wildcats and advanced to the semifinals of the Class 4A singles championships at state.