National Signing Day: The stories behind the signatures

By: Jake Young Email
By: Jake Young Email

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

When it comes to National Signing Day in the CSRA, it was only right that it start with Thomson's John Atkins.

He was one of the first players to make his college decision known, giving the verbal to Georgia in the fall.

First thing this morning, he inked his letter to switch gold for red and remain a Bulldog.

Atkins said, "Well, when I went down, it just felt like home, and I just stuck with that when I went on my official visit. It's home there. That's where I want to play for four years and get my degree and get my education."

He's one of three players from the area headed to Athens, but that trio isn't the largest number going to one school.

An incredible five guys sent their signatures to Clemson, and their bond already goes beyond the field.

"We went and took our official (visit), and we just had a blast," said Silver Bluff's Cordrea Tankersley. "We got to know each other very well, and they're just very down to earth people, and I can't wait to play with them."

South Aiken's Josh Brown added, "I said, 'You know what. I feel kind of at home with these guys.' I feel like they were my own brothers from the beginning, so it just felt right to go there."

Joining them on the Tigers' defense is Fox Creek's Marty Williams. The all-everything senior is the first big school signee for the Predators, and he hopes he won't be the last.

"It means a lot, and it shows to them that it takes a lot of work to get what you want," Williams said. "I hope they work hard for it because the door is open for them now."

South Carolina nabbed just one of our locals in Williston-Elko's Kendric Salley. He joins Marcus Lattimore in the Gamecocks' backfield but doesn't plan to sit around.

He said, "I've got goals and aspirations of my own that I want to reach so I'm going to try to follow him and just take everything in stride."

Not everybody's staying in the two state. Barnwell's Phazahn Odom has his sights set on the Big Apple.

"Fordham, it's a nice, quiet campus. So, when you're on campus, you won't even feel like you're in New York City," he pointed out. "It feels kind of like Barnwell, so I'll still kind of feel at home being there."

ARC has been no stranger to signing day success, adding three more to their total of 19 in the past five years, and over in Columbia County, Lakeside's Mark Weidenhaar is happy with the results of a very tough decision.

He said, "It came down to pretty much Georgia State and Coastal Carolina. I decided that I wanted to play quarterback so I decommited from Coastal, and I'm on my way to Georgia State."

Another solid class for North Augusta. Four players moving on, including Vinnie Miller to The Citadel.

And Greenbrier's Thomas Brown is taking the flight path of a former teammate, signing with Air Force.


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