The signing ceremony took place in the library of Hillsboro High School, just a few miles away from the Vanderbilt campus down Hillsboro Pike. Besides friends and family, the local media showed up for the event.
Mooney also invited other people who have been significant in her development as a basketball player to be present for this big moment in her life.
One of those people was Charles Davis, the former Vanderbilt men's basketball star who went on to a 12-year professional career after graduation and who has run the Charles Davis Foundation for the past 22 years.
"Jessica started out with my foundation playing basketball," Davis said on Wednesday afternoon. "I can remember her bouncing the ball, and she's been with us ever since." There's also a family connection. Mooney's father is Davis' third cousin.
"I was the first one in my family to go to Vanderbilt. She's the second one. She's got some big shoes to fill over there on West End, but that's OK," said Davis. "She's a special young lady, and I think she will do very well academically as well as playing basketball. She's a great representative of our family."
A more recent influence was Matt Insell, who was Mooney's coach on the Tennessee Flight, the Nike traveling team that Mooney played for this summer. (If the name "Insell" rings a bell, it's probably because his father, Rick Insell, was the legendary coach at Shelbyville High School before moving to the college ranks at MTSU this spring.)
"Jessica's one of my favorites," said Insell. "I felt honored to coach her. She's the total package. She's a great penetrator, she's a great leader on the floor. She does an excellent job defending.
"She's a special player, and Vanderbilt got a special player in Jessica," he continued. "Jessica was highly recruited by a lot of schools and her choosing to stay and play at home is even greater."
Another name that Vanderbilt fans might recognize is "Tiffany Woosley." Woosley played at the University of Tennessee from 1991-1995. She's now in the physical therapy field, but also coaches. She was Mooney's AAU coach for the summers after her freshman and sophomore years in high school.
Completing the group was LeMore McGill, the girls basketball coach at Hillsboro High, who guided Moody and the Lady Burros to a 32-2 record last season.
Charles Davis, Matt Insell, Carolyn Mooney, Jesse Mooney,
Tiffany Woosley, and LeMore McGill with Jessica Mooney.
For Mooney, the day was a dream come true. "I always loved Vanderbilt since I was little," she said. "We've had season tickets and gone to a lot of the games."
The decision about where to attend college was an easy one for Mooney. "I always said that if Vanderbilt asked me, that's where I wanted to go."
* * * * * *
Photos copyright 2005 by Whitney D for VandyMania.com. Click on photos to view a larger image.