The start of the NCAA’s early signing period on Wednesday offered high school football standouts the opportunity to officially sign letters of intent to continue their careers on the next level. A handful of area players did just that.
Headlining the group of midstate players headed off to big-time programs beyond the borders of the Peach State on Wednesday was Warner Robins offensive tackle Christian Armstrong, who signed with Florida State. The 6-foot-6 lineman played a pivotal role in the big numbers put up by the Demons offense during their 14-1 season. Florida State beat out multiple SEC schools for Armstrong’s services, including Georgia and Auburn, in addition to Penn State and Clemson.
On the other side of the ball, another area standout made his long-time commitment to Stanford official. Stratford Academy’s Tobe Umerah, who verbally committed to the Cardinal in April, put the pen to paper on Wednesday. The 6-4, 237-pound weakside defensive end received heavy interest from numerous SEC and ACC programs in addition to Northwestern and Notre Dame.
Former Mary Persons product Quen Head officially joined the fold at Louisville on Wednesday as an inside linebacker after playing within the junior college ranks at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. Head will walk into a situation fertile with competition — Louisville inked three linebackers in its early signing period class.
Peach County’s Mitchell Fineran has made plenty of clutch kicks during his career for the Trojans. After Wednesday’s signing of a letter of intent, he’ll be doing so for Macon native Chris Hatcher at Samford. Fineran will be going to a Bulldogs program with some built-up momentum — Samford is coming off of back-to-back FCS playoff berths.
Southwest’s Goolsby among big group of incoming Mercer linemen
For Mercer, the Bears welcomed 12 players in its early signing class on Wednesday. The biggest new position group is on the offensive line, where one of the new faces will be Southwest’s Isaiah Goolsby. He’ll be joined in that position group by Gavan George (6-5, 270) from Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy, Collin Foster (6-3, 258) via Lanier and Tyrese Cohen (6-4, 310) out of Aiken, South Carolina.
The new linemen will also have some skill position standouts to block for with the new group with receiver DeMond Ellison (6-3, 212) from Cherokee, running back Kareem Rogers (5-11, 182) out of Woodland of Stockbridge and quarterback Bryce Lawrence (6-3, 200) from Ola in McDonough.
A trio of defensive linemen will also be arriving. DJ McDaniel (6-1, 262) from Indian Trail, North Carolina, is one of just two newcomers from outside of Georgia. He’ll be joined on the defensive line by Coby Germany (6-2, 253) from Evans and Xavier Perkins (6-2,240) by way of Druid Hills.
The Bears defensive secondary will also get some more athleticism. Kermit Solomon (6-2, 176), fresh off helping Lee County to a state title, signed on Wednesday, as did D.Q. Wilkerson out of Callaway High.
Lunsord era picks up steam with early signees for Eagles
The next step for newly minted Georgia Southern head coach Chad Lunsford? Build towards a strong recruiting class. The Eagles did just that on Wednesday with the first additions to their 2018 group with the start of the early signing period.
And the newest group of Eagles isn’t short of speed and athleticism. Five of Wednesday’s seven signings are listed as either a receiver of defensive back, giving the Eagles strong options to consider on both sides of the ball. Smyrna native Marcus Rogers (6-3, 200) at receiver plus three safeties — Zyon McGee (6-2, 205) of Bainbridge, Deontae Grant (6-1, 200) from Bushnell, Florida, and Najee Thompson (6-0, 185) will give the Eagles plenty to work with from the standpoint of its signing class. Offensive lineman Jawaski Webb (6-2, 280) from Senatobia, Mississippi, and linebacker Jontavious Ferguson filled out Wednesday’s list of early signees for Georgia Southern.