February 3, 2016, is one of the darkest days I've ever had as an athlete.

It was National Signing Day for high school seniors, the day when players sign their Letters of Intent. For some athletes the day is just a formality, while other players come up with these elaborate ways of revealing their choice.

But away from all the cameras and the attention is another group of players, ones just hoping to receive any offer possible. That was me, and the silence of that day is something I'll never forget.

Unlike the high school players across the country who were listed as five-star recruits and coveted by every school, I had yet to receive a single offer up to that point. I woke up that day hoping that an offer would come through from somebody, but even as the hours began to pass with no offers, I knew there was still a chance I could land something.

I had heard about these "11th hour" offers that might come through. The coaches don't know where all the players are going to end up when the day starts, and based on how everything would play out over the course of the day I knew there was still a chance a phone call might come in.

But as the minutes turned into hours, and still nothing changed, it finally dawned on me. It had struck midnight on my dreams.

Fortunately they hadn't struck midnight on God's.

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(Title photo courtesy Ohio University)

Thomas Hager