DETROIT - Signing Day is always a special day for recruits, but seeing parents react puts the long road to this day into true perspective.
At Detroit Cass Tech, long tables of high school football players signing to play at the next level has become a common sight in early February. So too have Michigan hats signaling the choice of so many Technicians to become Wolverines.
This year, some green and white finally joined the party.
Cass Tech lineman Dennis Finley chose Michigan State over Michigan, and became the first Technician in over 12 years to commit to play in East Lansing.
"When it came down to it, Michigan State is the place I felt comfortable the next four, five years. I created a bond with the coaches like the bonds I created with my coaches at Cass Tech," Finley said.
Cass Tech head coach Thomas Welcher played at Michigan, and has sent numerous players to his alma mater. Surprisingly, it was Welcher who pushed Finley to go to East Lansing.
"He had offers from everywhere," Welcher said. "Michigan State was the right fit."
He'll play against former teammates, including All-American fellow lineman David Dawson, who had parting jokes for his friend.
"I told him he's gonna be my little brother for the rest of his life," Dawson said with a smile.
Finley gave his mother a reason to smile, and cry, realizing a dream come true. A 3.0 student with interest from Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State, Dennis will get everything his mom hoped he would get.
"When I pushed him to play football, I wasn't looking for the NFL, I wasn't looking for stardom. I just wanted him to get an education," Debra Finley said, holding back tears.
"That's what happened today. My son's getting an education and going to a good school."
His new school will be close enough so mom can visit - and the colors are the same, so she'll feel right at home.
"I'm very proud. Very proud," she said.
Brad Galli is a Sports Reporter for WXYZ Detroit. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradGalli .