Athletes from all the Summerville-area high schools solidified their college plans Wednesday.
This year 11 Summerville High School athletes, five of them football players, signed a National Letter of Intent with the college of their choice during National Signing Day celebrations. Probably none of them were more relieved to commit in writing to the program of their choice than Darin Smalls.
The Green Wave defensive back was widely considered the top recruit in the state at his position going into his senior year and already had a scholarship offer from the University of South Carolina. However, Smalls tore the anterior cruciate ligament in one of his knees during the third week of the season. It marked the last time he would play for the Green Wave and brought speculation regarding whether the Gamecocks would honor their scholarship offer to Smalls.
The matter was put to rest Wednesday morning when Smalls signed his paperwork and sent it to the Gamecocks.
“South Carolina is a great program so I’m lucky they stuck with me through my injury,” Smalls said. “I feel blessed that they stayed with me and I get the opportunity to play with them. I knew that’s where I wanted to go. All my family and friends live around here and the ride up to USC is a short one. They can come see me play whenever and I can come visit them whenever.”
The Gamecocks have excelled at developing defensive players recently and Smalls says he thinks his skills will fit right in with the team’s defensive strategy.
“They are putting guys at my position into the pros so I’m excited about getting a chance to play there and joining DBU,” Smalls said. “Hopefully I’ll do as well there as the others have.”
Two Green Wave football players signed with Charleston Southern University. Coming off a school-record, 10-win season, CSU has signed 26 players.
The Bucs landed Summerville kicker David Kennedy, who was named the 2013 Green Wave MVP.
“They had a great season last year and I like to win,” Kennedy said. “Plus when I visited it really felt like home. The players and the coaches were great. I looked at other schools but when I got there I knew it was the place for me.”
Summerville defensive back Kevin Dickinson also signed with CSU. He capped the 2013 season by receiving the Green Wave Defensive Back Award.
“I like the environment at CSU and that it is close to home,” Dickinson said. “Joining a program that is on the rise is amazing.”
Green Wave tight end Sean Smith signed with Middle Tennessee State University.
“There’s a real family atmosphere there,” Smith said. “I like the way the coaches and players treat each other and that is what really sold me on them.”
Summerville receiver/running back Donnell Bryan signed with Newberry College.
“I feel good about the coaches there,” Bryan said. “I’m excited about joining their team.”
Green Wave baseball players Zachary Mosay and Billy Peatross signed with Spartanburg Methodist College.
“I’m looking forward to playing at SMC for a year or two and then deciding where I want to go,” Mosay said. “I have bigger ambitions than playing at a D-II school so I think it was the right decision. SMC is one of the best JuCos in the nation.”
Peatross is also hoping to use SMC as a building block.
“It was a big decision and a tough decision but what it came down to was SMC felt right to me,” Peatross said. “I think it’s a place that will help me up my stock and achieve my goals.”
Ryan West and Walker Riley singed with the Erskine College Men’s Soccer team.
“I like that community and when I talked to the team I liked their camaraderie,” West said. “It’s a good college.”
Lady Green Wave soccer player Tinslee Dilday signed with The Citadel.
“I like the atmosphere and all the girls on the team I was able to meet,” Dilday said. “The coaches and the players are very nice. I love being out on the field so I’m looking forward to joining their team.”
School officials also honored softball player Taylor Powell during Wednesday’s celebration. She signed with the CSU softball team in November during the early signing period.
“I really like that CSU is faith oriented,” Powell said. “I feel like it is a place where I can develop my Christianity and remain close to family.”