Stewart Co. High Football Signing Day
From the 2-8-17 issue of the Journal
Pictured above at the National Signing Day ceremony are, from left: seated - Ryel Thornton, Jarvis White, Marquis Warren, Joseph Mccarthy, Steven Ferguson; standing - Head Coach Kelvin Smith, and Assistant Coach Douglas Cromartie.
By Richard Harris
It can be tough for Class A high schools, especially those who are among the smallest schools, to attract attention from college football programs for their players. Sometimes even players with very impressive stats on very successful teams have a hard time landing a spot on a college roster.
With that in mind, the coaches at Stewart County High School made a special effort to try and help their players find places to play at the next level. While the Royal Knights struggled to a 2-9 record this year, they celebrated “National Signing Day” last Wednesday with a special ceremony in which four players signed letters of intent with college programs and a fifth player signed with an academy that specializes in preparing student-athletes to make the jump from high school to four-year colleges.
On a team that only had eight seniors, that’s a 63% rate of sending players to the “next level”.
While the colleges are small, it is still a big step for the players, who will get an opportunity to not only continue their athletic careers, but to also further their educations in preparation for actual careers.
Four of the local students – Ryel Thornton, Jarvis White, Marquis Warren, and Steven Ferguson – signed with Middle Georgia State College in Macon (whose mascot is, fittingly, the Knight). It is a public, four-year member of the University System of Georgia. The Knights compete in the Southern States Athletic Conference as part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Meanwhile, teammate Joseph McCarthy signed with Alabama Prep Sports Academy in Calera, Ala., which has as its slogan, “Bridging the Gap Between Academics and Athletics). It is a rigorous post-graduate academic-athletic program for students who wish to continue their desire to earn a four-year scholarship at an accredited four-year college.
According to the school’s website, “The mission of Alabama Prep Sports Academy's Post-Graduate sports program is to provide young men and women the opportunity to continue their education and to obtain a college degree, while participating in collegiate sports. The program pushes students in practice, tests their character and leadership abilities, and gets them committed to their education. Alabama Prep Sports Academy staff is dedicated to work towards realizing your child's dreams by teaching them self-discipline, hard work, and commitment to their goals.”