High school football stars are as good as their word

Area stars honor verbal commitments

  • Follow Signing Day

Most of the area’s top high school football players had made up their minds well before Wednesday’s National Signing Day arrived. But that didn’t stop the phones from ringing with renewed intensity over the past two weeks.

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North Augusta QB Tyrell Hillary (from left), receiver Montez McGuire, linebacker DeVontez Rouse and running back Vinny Miller signed letters of intent Wednesday.  JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
North Augusta QB Tyrell Hillary (from left), receiver Montez McGuire, linebacker DeVontez Rouse and running back Vinny Miller signed letters of intent Wednesday.

South Aiken coach Jeremy West fielded many of the calls from college programs inquiring about defensive lineman Josh Brown. Fox Creek’s Russ Schneider was doing the same with top safety prospect
Marty Williams.

“A couple of the big schools came on late last week or so,” West said. “But Clemson got on him pretty early, and that’s who he stuck with.”

“Now maybe the phone will finally stop ringing,” Schneider said.

Clemson received verbal commitments early from three local stars, and the seniors kept their word Wednesday with signing ceremonies. More than 100 students, friends and family celebrated with Brown and fellow defensive lineman Tarik Scafe, who signed with Benedict.

Silver Bluff defensive back Cordrea Tankersley will join Brown and Williams at Death Valley next season.

“Clemson was my top choice all along,” Tankersley said. “I wanted the experience of recruiting. Now that it’s over with I’m ready to move on and go
to Clemson.”

Tankersley’s teammate, Blake Robbins, will play football at Charleston Southern after the 6-foot-6 basketball player led the Silver Bluff defensive line in his first year of varsity football.

The Citadel landed The Augusta Chronicle’s South Carolina Player of the Year when North Augusta’s Vinny Miller committed to the Charleston, S.C. school. Miller was one of four Yellow Jackets to sign national letters of intent.

Receiver Montez McGuire (Georgia Military), quarterback Tyrell Hillary (North Greenville) and linebacker DeVontez Rouse (North Greenville) also signed.

Rouse originally picked Lenoir-Rhyne as his college but made a switch in the final days.

“I decided to go to the place that wanted me most,” he said. “There’s a pretty good chance for me to see some early playing time there.”

The size of the class was on par with what North Augusta has produced in previous years, and the party atmosphere was familiar to coach Dan Pippin.

“It’s a pretty fun time for everybody,” he said. “When you have school board members and friends and family coming to congratulate these guys, you can tell the town really supports the program.”

The party was a little more emotional at Fox Creek, where Williams became the program’s first major college signee.

A box of tissues made its way around to friends and family just before the ceremony, and Williams used both of his large hands to wipe his face immediately after putting pen to paper.

“It just started to hit me,” he said. “It’s an emotional thing.”

The Predators won their first playoff game in 2010 and reached the second round again in 2011 with Williams under center and roaming the defensive secondary.

Williston-Elko’s Rokeem Williams, a wide receiver and defensive back, signed with Miami (Ohio), fellow Blue Devil Kendric Salley signed with South Carolina.

And Strom Thurmond quarterback Raleigh Yeldell committed to Newberry.

Sports Editor John Boyette contributed to this story.

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sstea 02/02/12 - 08:11 am
Way to go Kendric and

Way to go Kendric and Rokeem!!!

Riverman1 02/02/12 - 08:21 am
It was pretty exciting when

It was pretty exciting when the first black football players were signed by southern schools. These days it would be something if a white player signed. Not that it's a problem....Just saying.

Riverman1 02/02/12 - 08:28 am
Know what's strange? The New

Know what's strange? The New England Pats have so many white guys on their team. It looks strange in the NFL. I almost want to pull for them just because they're different. You know kind of like pulling for the Jamaican bobsled team, a black hockey player, black golfer or white boxer.

Craig Spinks
Craig Spinks 02/02/12 - 02:11 pm
What percentage of these

What percentage of these young athletes possess the Reading skills to have comprehended the grants-in-aid that they signed yesterday?

What percentage of these young men are "bona fide" students who have the academic skills to benefit from college matriculation? How many will be on street corners in five years?

toppergem 02/06/12 - 03:07 pm
Awww Craig, maybe it's just

Awww Craig, maybe it's just me but those last two questions kinda rubbed me the wrong way! They made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Why a street corner? They could be your next doctor, lawyer, dentist, business owner...what are you trying to say? But, in answer to your first question not many can or have ever been able to read any grant-in aid paperwork...no matter what year or when they signed.

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