Beginning with Spalding High’s Najee Leftwich and ending with ceremonies for Griffin High’s Kentorius “Scoot” Jackson and Greg Worthy, three area football players signed National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, National Signing Day.
Leftwich, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound tight end the for the Jaguars this past season, was the first to sign, inking with NCAA Division I-AA Alabama State in Montgomery, Ala., at 10 a.m., during a brief ceremony at Spalding High.
“It has been a blessing to have played at Spalding High School and to get a chance to play at Alabama State,” said Leftwich. “I give all the glory to God.”
Leftwich’s play really took off his senior season when Clint Ashmore became the head coach at SHS and installed a passing offense. He ended the season with 38 catches for 360 yards and a touchdown.
However, Leftwich - who bench’s 395 pounds, squats 470, cleans 300 and carries a 3.6 GPA - said he first realized he could go to college for football the morning after his best game ever, a near 100-yard, one TD performance against Mary Persons in the next-to-last game this past season.
“When I woke up the next day I said there were scouts there, so I definitely should get looked at,” said Leftwich, who with the performance also made up for a drop in an overtime loss the previous season against MPHS.
Later in the day, Jackson, an outside linebacker who had 107 tackles and led the Bears with 17 tackles for a loss, inked to play at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga. They play junior college ball.
“I always wanted to go to college and go someplace I could play right away,” said the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Jackson, who was named to the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association All-State team this week and was an honorable mention all-state selection by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in December.
A recent trip to the college swayed him.
“I went down there and it seemed like a good fit for me,” said Jackson, who was also recruited by Troy. “It’s a place I can go and get looked at to play at a bigger school in two years.”
Worthy, a safety who had 83 tackles, shared the team lead for interceptions (2) with two others and a logged a team-high 10 pass breakups, inked with NCAA Division I-AA Furman University in Greenville, S.C.
“At the end of last year I thought it could be a possibility,” said the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder. “But midway through this season I knew it would happen when the coaches started calling on a weekly basis.”
Middle Tennessee, Wofford and Tennessee-Chattanooga all expressed an interest in Worthy. In the end he verbally committed to Furman long before signing day.
“I chose it because I’m also big on academics,” said Worthy, who carries a 3.5 GPA and would like to major in either mechanical or civic engineering.
Other area players who could sign in upcoming weeks include Griffin’s Sheldon Hancock (Navy Prep), Rodnekus Lindsey (Dean College and GMC) and Nhyjal Sims (Dean or Holmes College) and Spalding High’s Travis Lee (Wingate) and Willie Hamm (several jucos).