Montres Kitchens signs national letter of intent to play for Troy

GEORGIA

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Montres Kitchens had a nice surprise when he returned to school in January after the holiday break.

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The Burke County running back/defensive back had always wanted to play college football, but now it seemed his dream would come true at the highest level.

On Wednesday, Kitchens finalized his college future when he signed with Troy (Ala.), a member of the Sun Belt Conference in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Troy has made a bowl game in four of the past six years.

Kitchens said his team’s Georgia High School Associa­tion Class AAA state championship run was a main reason why such a signing was possible.

“I think that was a big factor,” said Kitchens.

Kitchens said Troy is “a threat to go to a bowl game every year.”

But Kitchens, who scored 22 touchdowns this season, was just one area athlete to make a collegiate decision official on National Signing Day, and he wasn’t the only one to sign with an FBS program.

Thomson’s John Atkins, a nose guard, signed with Georgia, the school he committed to back in September. Thomson went 9-2 this season and lost to Burke County in the Region 3-AAA title game.

Atkins asked his friends and fans in Thomson to watch his career at Athens, Ga.

“Just keep on riding me until I get better,” he said.

In Columbia County, Greenbrier’s Thomas Brown signed his national letter of intent with the Air Force Academy.

“I decided last month that I wanted to go to Air Force,” he said. “They were my first offer, they offered me at the end of my junior year and it just seemed right. I heard a lot of good things about them so I decided to make the decision.”

Many other players signed with Football Championship Subdivision schools, including Lakeside quarterback Mark Weidenaar, who signed with Georgia State.

Weidenaar sat out all of his junior year due to injury but returned to lead Lakeside to the Class AAAA state playoffs. He scored 27 touchdowns, threw for almost 1,700 yards and rushed for 887 more yards this season.

The Panther initially committed to Coastal Carolina but Georgia State provided a better chance for him to remain at quarterback. Coastal Carolina had expressed interest in using him as a wide receiver with some snaps as a quarterback.

“Coach (Bill) Curry told me he has had quarterbacks that started one year, two years and three years,” Weidenaar said. “Then he said, ‘Why not four years?’ ”

Else­where in the area, a few players signed with other FCS schools.

In Heph­zibah, quarterback Terry Robinson will be with his brother, Gary, at Furman. Teammate Wayne Wingrove heads out west to Idaho State of the Big Sky Conference and Lavorius Beasley will go to Dean College (Mass.).

Other signees include Washington-Wilkes’ Da’Quan Heard, who signed with Georgia Southern. The
receiver/tight end recorded 635 receiving yards and seven touchdowns this year. Heard selected the Eagles over fellow Southern Conference team Appalachian State.

“Went to camp there three years straight and kind of liked it there,” Heard said of Georgia Southern, which advanced to the NCAA Division I Football Championship semifinals the past two seasons and holds six national championships.

“I liked the atmosphere and felt comfortable there,” he said. “Always wanted to play football there and it’s close to home.”

Over in Richmond County, Westside wide receiver/free safety Tre Isom penned his named with Savannah State.

Isom, who sports a 3.9 GPA, said he had interest from Georgia State, Georgia Tech, South Carolina State and Tennessee.

“I’m just happy to get all this recruiting over with and finally find a home,” Isom said. “It starts off fun, but then it gets kind of old. You’ve got to figure out who really wants you and who doesn’t.

“Savannah State is an up-and-coming program. They struggled a little bit last year, but I’m ready to help them.”

At Richmond Academy, three Musketeers came together to sign, with Montrell Wood choosing Tennessee State and Marvin Davis going with Mercer.

The third, Diquan Wash­ington, heads to Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. Washington expects to be there for two years before moving on to a bigger school. Washington said Clemson, Georgia and South Carolina were looking at him.

Though Wednesday was the big day for most, other athletes will be signing in the coming weeks.

That includes up to three more Burke County football players. Bears coach Eric Parker, like Kitchens, said the state title and playoff run to the Georgia Dome brought his players more attention from colleges.

“No doubt the playoff run made it kind of wild,” Parker said.

Staff writers Donnie Fetter, Chris Gay, Jenna Martin, Scott Michaux and Garth Snow contributed to this story.

PLAYERS WHO SIGNED NATIONAL LETTERS OF INTENT

FOOTBALL

Player High School College

Malcolm Aldridge Burke County West Georgia

John Atkins Thomson Georgia

Lavorius Beasley Hephzibah Dean College (Mass.)

Josh Brown South Aiken Clemson

Thomas Brown Greenbrier Air Force

Marvin Davis Richmond Academy Mercer

Christan Garnett Butler Virginia State

Jordan Harper Augusta Christian Mercer

Da’Quan Heard Washington-Wilkes Georgia Southern

Tyrell Hillary North Augusta North Greenville

Orlando Howard Burke County West Georgia

Tre Isom Westside Savannah State

Rymel Jones Butler Virginia State

Montres Kitchens Burke County Troy

Jetavius Marshall Lincoln County South Carolina State

Montez McGuire North Augusta Georgia Military

Jeff Menefee Butler Virginia State

Vinny Miller North Augusta The Citadel

Fred Nelson Laney Chattahoochee Tech

Akila Parks Grovetown Georgia Military

Kentrell Reynolds Thomson Butler CC (Kan.)

Adonis Roberson Augusta Christian Orangeburg-Calhoun Prep Academy

Blake Robbins Silver Bluff Charleston Southern

Terry Robinson Hephzibah Furman

Glenn Rodriguez Laney Chattahoochee Tech

DeVontez Rouse North Augusta North Greenville

Kendric Salley Williston-Elko South Carolina

Tarik Scafe South Aiken Benedict

Germaine Tait Glenn Hills Fort Valley State

Cordrea Tankersley Silver Bluff Clemson

Tayari Thompson Butler Georgia Military

Diquan Washington Richmond Academy Coffeyville CC (Kan.)

Mark Weidenaar Lakeside Georgia State

Dalton Wetherington Lincoln County Valdosta State

Lafayell Williams Jefferson County Georgia Military

Marty Williams Fox Creek Clemson

Rokeem Williams Williston-Elko Miami (Ohio)

Wayne Wingrove Hephzibah Idaho State

Montrell Wood Richmond Academy Tennessee State

Raleigh Yeldell Strom Thurmond Newberry

SOCCER

Bay Daniel Greenbrier South Carolina

Kerrie Edmondson Westminster Wofford

Carly Ray Greenbrier South Carolina

Cara Smith Westminster Georgia

Anastasia Whitehouse Lakeside Armstrong Atlantic State

SOFTBALL

Kinsey Parrish Silver Bluff Spartanburg Methodist

Dani Reeves Aiken USC Sumter



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