Dreams realized during National Signing Day

Staff reportsFebruary 13, 2013 

A 30-minute power outage failed to dim national signing day enthusiasm at Northside High School where four senior confirmed their commitments to in-state universities.

Receiver Robert Davis and linebacker Trey Payne signed letters of intent to play football and continue their educations at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Slot back Keshun Hill and offensive lineman Taylor Lay will matriculate at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.

Despite a longtime appreciation for Georgia Southern, Lay didn’t see himself playing football there until the end of his sophomore year. He began to see the possibilities after a round-table discussion with his parents and Northside line coach Mark Stewart at the end of his sophomore year.

Hill, The Telegraph’s All Middle Georgia Player of the Year, said his visit to the Statesboro campus exposed him to the same type of “brotherhood” he experienced at Northside and success.

“I’ve never been on a team that had a losing record,” Hill said. “All they do is win.”

Davis had been leaning toward Reinhardt College in Waleska but chose Georgia State after a visit. He said he was drawn to the big city campus and appreciated the high expectations new head coach Trent Miles brings to the football program. “They wanted better men and not just better players,” Davis said.

Payne was one of the first players Miles recruited after taking the job in December. Payne said the Atlanta school offers all he’s looking for in a college experience.

“It wasn’t all about football,” Payne said. “To be in that city with my financial interests, it’s the right place.

During a freshman accounting class, Payne said, he developed a love of numbers.

“When I got older, I developed a love of money,” he said.

Demons quartet

The wide reach of the Warner Robins football program extended a bit further during the early hours of national signing day. Four Demons accepted scholarships to play football and continue their educations at institutions of higher learning near and far.

Offensive lineman Brian Cornish signed with Fort Valley State University, but the other three will travel in pursuit of their dreams. Cornerback DeAnthony Mack will attend Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College while linebacker Bryson Bagley and safety Shane Bowie are headed to the College of the Redwoods in Eureka, Calif. Bagley and Bowie have been friends since middle school.

“I’m from a big family, and they’ll always have my back and support me,” Bagley said. “but I’m glad I’m taking Shane with me.”

Responsible for more than 1,000 yards of total offense and 10 touchdowns during the 2012 season, Mack distinguished himself as an offensive threat. He said Hutchinson coaches will use him some in that capacity, as well, but he’s going to the team as a cornerback.

“Their exacts words were ‘playmaker’,” Mack said when asked what the Hutchinson coaches appreciated about his play.

An honors graduate, Cornish said he chose to stay close to home in part because both his parents graduated from Fort Valley State. He said he’s eager for the opportunity to move forward but will miss time spent with his Demons teammates.

“Just getting to play with the group of guys I played with (is special),” Cornish said.

Panthers send four to college ranks

Four Perry students signed football national letters-of-intent.

A.J. Riley signed with Coffeeville College in Coffeyville, Kan.

Riley said he chose Coffeyville because, “besides football, I like their engineering program and I’m ready to show them what I can do.”

Joe Rucker signed with Georgia Military College. When asked the reason behind his decision to attend GMC, Rucker said, “I like the history associated with them, and the coaches think I can come in and contribute right away.”

Marquez Thomas signed with North Dakota State because “they had been talking to me since my junior year, and when I went up there, I just fell in love with the place. They made me feel like family.”

Deonte Soloman signed with West Georgia Technical College because his current coach “told me they have a really good program. So that helped me with my decision process.”

Two Trojans ink deals

Peach County is a program that has become very familiar with National Signing Day through the years thanks to one of the strongest football programs in Middle Georgia.

Two more Trojans wrote another chapter in that success story when Malcolm Colvin and Dylan Leach signed their national letters-of-intent to continue playing football at the college level.

Demarcus Robinson was not present at the ceremony in Fort Valley because he enrolled early at Florida. One of the top prospects in the Gators’ class, Robinson is arguably the top wide receiver in Georgia.

Colvin was a member of the Telegraph’s All-Middle Georgia first-team offense at tight end, and he signed with Chattanooga from the Southern Conference. The future mechanical engineering major wore a huge smile when he talked what he would look back upon after graduation.

“I’m going to remember those Friday nights in that stadium, up under those lights and in between those cinder blocks the most,” Colvin said. “It’s just a lot of happy thoughts. I’m going to miss it here, but I’m looking forward to the whole college experience.”

Leach chose the University of the South-Sewanee. He also plans to major in engineering.

HoCo’s White to Coffeyville

Houston County senior Myles White is a bit too small to fit the suit of the modern college wide receiver. But he’s willing to do what’s necessary to gain a little size.

“I don’t got no problem eating,” White said a few minutes before signing a letter of intent to play football and continue his education at Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kan.

The 5-foot-9-inch White said the Red Ravens’ coaches told him they think they found a hidden gem. A relative unknown on the college football recruiting stage as a junior, White’s play during the 2012 season demanded attention. White was a first-team all-Region 2-AAAAA wide receiver for the Bears. As a senior, he caught 56 balls for 764 yards and four touchdowns. He had another four scores on punt or kick returns. White said he’s planning to study athletic training so he can stay involved in sports.

Broughton chooses Albany State

Veterans wide receiver Malik Broughton entered the final week of recruiting still undecided about where he would choose to attend college. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound prospect made his decision final Feb. 6, however, when he chose Albany State over Valdosta State. “Albany State was willing to offer me a full scholarship, and that was pretty much why I chose them,” Broughton said.

Chris Deighan, Randy Jennings and Ryan Jordan contributed to this report.

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