Eighteen sign on National Signing Day

Alcovy had three players sign on Nation Signing Day with all three headed to FBS schools. Robert Bullard (center) is heading to the Air Force Academy with teammates Curtiss Benton (left) and Okon Godwin going to Appalachian State. (Staff photo: Manny Fils)

Alcovy had three players sign on Nation Signing Day with all three headed to FBS schools. Robert Bullard (center) is heading to the Air Force Academy with teammates Curtiss Benton (left) and Okon Godwin going to Appalachian State. (Staff photo: Manny Fils)

COVINGTON — Ink was put to paper as 18 local players took part of National Signing Day on Wednesday.

Even though Alcovy only had three players sign on the first day, it’s the first time in school history that they have three players sign with FBS schools.

“I think Alcovy has quietly become a pretty good athletic program,” Alcovy head football coach Kirk Hoffman said. “I know football-wise, what we’ve accomplished since the school opened has probably exceeded what I thought you could as a new school. Through hard work, not just on the field but in the classroom, you’re starting to see the rewards.”

Okon Godwin and Curtiss Benton grew up together playing football from rec ball through high school. Apparently nothing is going to change as the two are heading to Appalachian State.

“We’ve been playing football together since we were real young and we decided that we wanted to continue to the next level. It’s like a home away from home,” Benton said. “They have an amazing coaching staff and they dedicated to helping you graduate and the education is the most important thing. I just want to thank coach Hoffman and all the coaching staff.”

Also spreading his wings is Robert Bullard who is heading to Colorado Springs to play for the Air Force Academy.

“It’s a great opportunity for my future and it’s the best opportunity I could have. I get to play DI football and I get a great degree from a great school,” Bullard said. “I want to thank the coaches, they helped me accomplish a lot here.”

Rockdale’s football team, which went 6-4 last season and made the state playoffs in 2012, had the most players sign with seven heading to the next level.

Linebacker Robert McCray led the list of signees, inking a deal with Indiana University. Also signing were linebackers Kentavius Preston (Southern University) and Brandon Harris (Alabama State), corner backs Shakym Peters (Alabama State) and Anthony Davis (Saint Augustine University), and linemen Julian McKnight (NC A&T) and Tyler Seabolt (Centre College).

Newton’s Corey Thomas and Dez Billingsley are heading to Kennesaw State where they made history becoming part of the first recruiting class for the Owls.

“They wanted the challenge of going to a new school starting football. They’re with the first signing class and they’re going to play in the Big South Conference in 2015,” Newton head coach Terrance Banks said.

Other Newton signees include Robbie Wallace (Wingate University), Derek Greene (University of Minnesota at Crookston) and Toyus Avery (Coffeyville Community College).

“Anytime you have a good number of kids sign it says that you have the academic environments needed to sign and the athletic ability,” Banks said. “Our goal for the future is that we’ll a team GPA of a B-minus. That will hopefully increase the number of signees. We’re going to have more that will sign late.”

It was a big day for a pair of Heritage soccer players. Mady Carter and Ray Brown both inked college scholarships Wednesday during National Signing Day, with Carter, the team’s goalkeeper, signing with Kennesaw State and Brown, a defender, signing with The Citadel.

Carter has had an outstanding career in net for the Patriots, winning first-team all-region honors twice, including as a junior in 2013.

Brown has been one of the team’s top defenders and at times has played forward, adding six goals a year ago.

Two Salem athletes signed on the dotted line Wednesday as soccer forward Bria Mosley inked a deal with Western Kentucky and Whitney Lester, who was the softball team’s ace pitcher a year ago (3.03 ERA),

signed with Andrew College.

A trio of Heritage football players signed with Cumberland College: Chandler Peeples, Jalen Jackson and Donovan Norfleet.

However, signing day was not a happy occasion for everyone involved. West Georgia Technical College announced it is withdrawing a proposal to add football as a competitive sport, which affected seven local players.

“After careful consideration, West Georgia Technical College has chosen to withdraw a request that was made to the Technical College System of Georgia to approve football as an additional athletic program for the Golden Knights,” interim President Pat Hannon told wgtcathletics.com.

Rockdale players Malachi Smith, Terrell McLaughlin, Akwesi Mintah, Joe Wright, Zachary Hess, Eastside’s Jomandi Smith and Salem’s Licash Lackey were all set to sign with the junior college, but now must find new schools.