By Phil Anastasia
Close friends Corey Clement of Glassboro and Anthony Averett of Woodbury were linked again on Wednesday morning.
In ceremonies about an hour apart at their respective high schools, Clement and Averett signed national letters of intent to attend two major-college football programs and culminate a dream that had driven both athletes since their days in youth football.
"It's a dream come true," Clement said after signing his NLI with Wisconsin.
A short while later, Averett was expressing the same sentiments after signing his NLI with Alabama.
"Every since I started playing football when I was like four years old, I dreamed about something like this," Averett said. "I always wanted to play for a big-time college football program."
Averett wore a red Alabama sweatshitrt and Alabama hat as well as a wide smile. He was surrounded by his immediate and extended family, including his mother Carmen Davis, a teacher at Woodbury.
Almost all of Averett's family wore Alabama gear, as did his coach at Woodbury, Zack Valentine.
Clement wore a red Wisconsin hat during his signing ceremony in an office off the main lobby at Glassboro. He was smiling a lot, too.
"This is a great day for me and a great day for Anthony," Clement said of Averett.
Clement was flanked by his parents, Stephen and Latanya. Clement's older brother Stephen also was in attendance as was Glassboro coach Mark Maccarone.
The 5-11, 212-pound Clement set SJ records for rushing yards in a game (479), season (2,510) and career (6,245). He said his goals at Wisconsin include helping the Badgers to the Rose Bowl and the Big Ten title game and winning the Heisman Trophy.
The 6-1, 175-pound Averett was recruited to Alabama as a defensive back. He ran for 1,025 yards as a quarterback last season and also made five interceptions in leading Woodbury to a 10-2 record and the SJ 1 title game.
Averett said his goals at Alabama include "keeping the process going" as far as helping the Crimson Tide continue to collect national championships. He also said he hoped to "get to the (NFL) draft in the next couple of years and get an education."
-- Reach Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.