Franklin Stephens and Jess Simpson were busy men Wednesday morning, introducing seniors that had worked hard enough to receive football scholarships to suit up next season across the country while earning a college degree. The Tucker and Buford coaches took time to thank the players, the assistant coaches, teachers and parents for everyone’s sacrifice and dedication leading up to the special culmination of National Signing Day.
Tucker saw nine players introduced to an auditorium full of supporters as Marqeeye Biggs (Tusculum College), Nick Collins (Lafayette), Kenneth Crenshaw (UT-Martin), Adaryl Jones (Averett University), Jordan Landry (UT-Martin), Justin Rivers (Tusculum) and Michael Young (Georgia Southern) all signed letters of intent. Jacob Sealand committed to Vanderbilt and was hoping for some company in Nashville in teammate Josh Dawson. However the coveted DE selected a red and black hat, indicating that he would matriculate to the University of Georgia. The atmosphere was rave-level as each player received multiple standing ovations and flash bulbs popped with each stroke of the pen. Dawson’s decision brought multiple recruiting services and media outlets to Tucker High School, including Score Atlanta, as the recent full court press put on by Mark Richt and his staff paid off in the end.
The scene was a bit quieter early Wednesday morning at Buford High School. Jess Simpson began the ceremony by indicating that three Wolves from a senior class that had appeared in four state championship games, winning three, all while racking up 57 wins had enrolled early to get a jump on the 2012 football season. Dillon Lee (Alabama), Kurt Freitag (Alabama) and Vadal Alexander (LSU) were not in attendance at the ceremony. Simpson went in alphabetical order to announce the scholarship winners, beginning with Dequan Clark (Georgia Southern) and ending with Nathan Staub (UNC). Ryan Dillard will take his talents to Yale of the Ivy League and Paris Head will head to Vanderbilt, an Ivy League-level school that plays in the SEC. Robert Hill (UTC) and Andre Johnson (Coastal Carolina) were named, as was Rick Legrant, who will attend UNC-Charlotte and help that school start its football program. C.J. Moore was also announced as the athlete will head to the University of Virginia.
Many dreams came true on National Signing Day, but the athletes that signed also were reminded that the process has just begun. Now comes the hard part of leaving high school and attending college, turning the potential into substance, all while working towards a degree and a future.