SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - For a long time, Memphis has been known as Hoop City.
Now, Hoop City is also becoming a fertile recruiting ground for top-level college football programs.
"People always look over Memphis but there's so much talent here," said Whitehaven head football coach Rodney Saulsberry.
High school football in Memphis is thriving. In the last two seasons, five gold balls were brought to the 901, and the players in the city are getting attention from top college football programs as well.
In this year's early national signing period, eight Shelby County football players signed with a team from the SEC, Big 10, and Big 12.
"The talent has always been here, but my hat goes off to the coaches across the city for just doing a better job of getting exposure for our guys," Saulsberry said.
Saulsberry has coached a long list of D-I talent in his time with the Tigers.
On Wednesday, defensive lineman Devon Robinson joined that list as he signed with Mississippi State.
Around the same time Robinson put pen to paper on his national letter of intent, three of his peers on the other side of town were signing their letters.
Cordova offensive lineman Jerome Carvin signed to play for the University of Tennessee, along with Wolves running back Jeremy Banks. Wide receiver Jacolby Hewitt signed to Indiana.
Earlier that day, the Hoosiers had already received Germantown cornerback Jaylin Williams' letter of intent.
By the end of the day, the Hoosiers pulled three kids out of the Bluff City to play in Bloomington, including St. Benedict's versatile athlete Cam Jones.
That's right… a Big 10 school more than 400 miles away plucked more than one kid from Memphis!
"It just kind of happened that way," Jones said. "We all fell in love with the place and we thought let's make the best of it."
Making the best of it is how Ridgeway wide receiver Kundarrius Taylor feels about playing high school football in Memphis.
He does just that, signing an offer to play for the No. 2 ranked Oklahoma Sooners. Taylor wants more top college football programs to look at kids from the Bluff City.
"We're hungry, it's like money-hungry," Taylor said. "Everybody else doesn't understand how Memphis is. Memphis is #2 on the killing rate. Why not change that from athletics and improve from it. We're just hungry for football. We're just hungry for sports."
Southwind's Jordan Davis also signed with a team in this year's college football playoff. Davis is headed to Tuscaloosa to play for the No. 4 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. He calls the opportunities football has provided he and his peers a blessing but admits he'll have fun on the field if he ever plays against his fellow Memphians on the next level.
"Once I see you in the SEC it ain't gonna be no problem on the field, but we gotta get what we gotta do, because we're both trying to get to the same place," Davis said.
It's really remarkable the opportunities these kids have received.
This is just the early national signing period, so there's a lot more talent that will sign on National Signing Day in February.
Shelby County is expected to produce a lot more D-1 signees then.