MADISON- The unusual end to the current school year due to the current pandemic from the coronavirus has also changed the way many student-athletes have signed their scholarships for their college of choice. Unlike the usual signing at their schools in front of family and friends, many signees have put their signature on scholarship papers within the confines of their homes among close family members.
Overall, the 2019-2020 school year was a banner one for athletic scholarships with all four of the local high schools having athletes make their choice of where to further their education and showcase their superb athletics talents. The signings were led by the Bob Jones baseball team where six players signed scholarships with five of those signing among NCAA Div. I schools.
The 2019 state runner-up Patriots’ baseball team, which was one of the favorites for the Class 7A state title in 2020, placed six into the college ranks during the early signing period. Both Dylan Ray and Caden Rose signed with Alabama, while Cam Hill chose Auburn and Mitchell Daly signed to become a Texas Longhorn. In addition, Nick Brown decided to attend college at Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Sam Maynard chose Southern Union Community College.
Current pentathlon state champion John Murray signed his scholarship papers at home with the Auburn Tigers. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Murray is also ranked No. 1 in the country in his multi-skilled athletic event.
With the exit of head football coach Kevin Rose after 11 seasons, the Patriots did host signings on National Signing Day prior to Rose retiring from his position and accepting a similar position for Lincoln County High in Fayetteville, Tenn. Four players signed scholarships including Donavon Brown- Dodge City Community College, Derrick Weddle- Alabama A&M, Trey Lockhart- Jackson State and Michael Lucente- Central Methodist University.
Additional athletes from Bob Jones who have reported their signings: Jayden Gilbert, track- Arkansas-Little Rock; Jadan Coleman, basketball- Tulane; Jack Haley, lacrosse- Norwich University-Vermont; Juanita Monteiro-Pai, volleyball- South Alabama (USA); Trey Lockhart, football- Jackson State.
The Jets’ football program had a record-setting signing event on National Signing day as six football players made their decision on where to take their gridiron skills to the next level. Those student-athletes included: Dylan Blackburn- Alabama A&M; Lee Coleman- Alabama A&M; Jon Granger- Lindsey Wilson University; Jordon Johnson- Delta State; Christian Brown- West Georgia; All-State wide receiver Chris Hope- East Tennessee State.
Two-time Class 7A All-State selection Zac Taylor had as many as 20 offers for his talents as an offensive lineman, but settled on signing with the UAB Blazers. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Taylor completed high school in the early period and is currently in classes at UAB.
James Clemens also had three additional football players sign scholarships. They included Tyron Wilson- Harding University, Kimarde Edwards- Oklahoma Baptist College and Keontae Strother- Northern Arizona.
Additional athletes at James Clemens signing: Jalen Moss, soccer- Faulkner University; Adriana Blakey, track- Montevallo.
The Senators’ football program showcased its talents on National Signing Day with seven players signing scholarships: Jakevion Dobbs- Lindsey Wilson College; MacKenzie Howard- Lane College; Khalil Griffin- Alabama A&M; Miles Tillman- Middle Tennessee State (MTSU); Tyshun Gaiter- Grambling State; Gavin Ransaw- Virginia-Wise; Xavier White- Culver Stockton College.
One additional athlete at the Harvest school signed a scholarship. Austin Hall signed to play lacrosse at Tennessee Wesleyan University.
The Mustangs’ were highlighted by signings of two of the most successful girl basketball players in the private school’s history. First-Team All-State player Destinee McGhee decided early on and final signed with the Arkansas Razorbacks. The 6-foot-2 center was a three-time All-State selection and was a four-star prospect and was listed as the No. 65 recruit in the country.
McGhee’s teammate Jaden Langford, also an All-State selection, chose the Samford Bulldogs’ program for her college locale. The 5-foot-8 guard not only was a star on the court, but she also excelled in the classroom with a 4.18 grade point average, which put her at No. 9 in her senior class.
Three members of Madison Academy’s football team also signed for college and were led by Evan Craighead who chose the Naval Academy. The linebacker chose the Midshipmen over Yale, Air Force, Troy and Florida State. Others from the Class 5A program to sign were Jacobi McBride- a potential walk-on at Alabama and Slate Rucker- North Alabama (UNA).