George Welch is following in his older brother’s footsteps as he prepares for the Division I level.
The Aquinas standout athlete signed a national letter of intent Wednesday to play at Gardner-Webb during a ceremony at the school.
“I’m excited to sign and get up there in the summer and see the next chapter in my life,” Welch said. “It’s a big deal for me.”
Welch has been one of the Irish’s top two-way weapons for several years, earning accolades and leading the locker room along the way. He recorded 118 catches for 1,896 yards and 17 touchdowns, and totaled 184 tackles and four interceptions in his career.
He was named All-State twice and All-Region three times.
Welch said Gardner-Webb, a member of the Division I Big South Conference, plans to use the Aquinas star quickly, perhaps starting as a freshman at safety.
“They were always showing me time and attention, always messaging me, asking me how I was doing,” he said. “They wanted me to come up there and play safety. They told me from the beginning that if you come up here, we’ll have a spot for you, we’re looking to start you and play you from the start. That put Gardner-Webb at the top.”
Welch joins his older brother, Liam, at the Division I level. Liam Welch, who guided Aquinas to a state title in 2013, is a quarterback at Samford in the Southern Conference. The two conferences often overlap, presenting a potential matchup in the future.
George attributed his brother’s rise to the next level and the support from Aquinas as motivating factors that helped him lead a talented Irish group the past few years.
“The support is fantastic, probably the best in the whole area,” he said. “Aquinas High School is a huge help, for sure, to get your name out there.”
Reach David Lee at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.