Every year the numbers are tabulated and every year they somehow manage to exceed expectations.
This year is no exception, despite the fact it was a rebuilding year for many.
Although the 24 athletes signed this year is down from last year’s record number of 33, it’s still a milestone which speaks volumes about how hard the coaches and athletes continue to work. The term, “continue to work,” is used because there have been 24 or more local athletes signed the last four years in a row and five times in the last six years and 21 or more athletes signed six of the last seven years.
It all adds up to prove the Griffin/Spalding area continues to be a hot-bed recruiting area for college sports throughout the southeast. The best part is the list represents a cross section of all sports, genders and schools or students inside the county lines.
Around here having an average of more than 20 athletes sign per school year has been the norm for well over a decade. In 2010 a previous high of 26 replaced the a co-previous high of 24 signed in 2009, up from 16 in 2008. Though it should be noted 24 signed in 2007, while 21 signed in 2006 and 18 signed in 2005.
Of course last year’s 33 rewrote the record books, while this year’s class of 24 maintains the standard reached time and again.
This annual column started back around 2000 because parents were complaining coaches weren’t doing enough to help their children reach the next level. So we worked up a list and took a look and quickly realized they were just blowing smoke.
This area has averaged 20 or more signed per school year dating back to the late 1990s.
To make a long story, short, we eagerly waited until the parents came up the following year complaining and tossed the list from the previous year on the desk.
It quickly ended the discussion.
See Recruiting/Page A11
That same scene played itself out less and less frequently the next two or three years as word got out the local coaches were doing a pretty good job of preparing the local athletes for the next level.
What the lists don’t show are countless hours of practice and refinement the coaches and athletes put in. Remember, there is no shortcut to reaching the next level. Just honest assessment and hours and hours of practice and refining. It’s funny, but when athletes do that they develop a very healthy respect for the level they should be playing at. That leads to a lot of great natural fits when the colleges come calling.
The athletes realize what an honor it is to be extended an invitation to play at the next level and often quickly ink on the dotted line. They realize exactly where they fit in. It’s a win-win not only for the athlete and his new college, but also for the local high school and community. It’s the system working as it should.
So, if you’re a parent with a student-athlete you feel is being snubbed and you’re ready to start complaining, halt. Try getting in the system first and letting it work. Twenty four local athletes did that last year and it worked just fine — see list on this page.
John Sullivan is the sports editor at the Griffin Daily News.
HEADED TO THE NEXT LEVEL… THE SIGNED
Those local athletes who have signed to play at the collegiate level sine June 7, 2011:
No. |Name |H.S. |Sport |College
1 |Casey Moody |Spalding |Baseball |Georgia
2 Nick Argoe |Spalding |Football |Point
3 |Eric Alford |Spalding |Football |Point
4 |Shaq Wiley |Spalding |Football |Point
5 |Tim Reid |Spalding |Football |Mesabi
6 |James Raglin |Spalding |Football |Mesabi
7 |Darrius Terrell |Spalding |Football |Mesabi
8 |Chris Dickson |Spalding |Football |Highland
9 |Ronnie Owens |Spalding |Football |Highland
10 |Myra Fisher |Soccer |Spalding |West Georgia
11 |Robert Green |Spalding |Baseball |Calhoun
12 |Emily Kaufman |Spalding |Cross Country |Gordon
13 |Dominique Nock |Spalding |South Carolina-Upstate
14 |Dee Dee Matthews |Spalding |Basketball |Albany State
15 |Hunter Lance |Spalding |Football |Huntingdon
16 |Jay Cross |Griffin |Rifle |North Georgia
17 |Sara Howell |Griffin |Rifle |North Georgia
18 |Jaylin Piercy |Griffin |Football |Fort Valley
19 |Eddrick Johnson |Griffin |Football |Fort Valley
20 |Marcus Stronger |Griffin |Football |Fort Valley
21 |Jahmiya Clemons |Griffin |Basketball |Perimeter
22 |Robert C. Watson III |Veritas |Tennis |Shorter
23 |Matthew Hammond |G. Christ. |Basketball |Shorter
24 | Matt Hayes |Spalding |Baseball |Andrew