This seems to happen with greater and greater frequency every year as Griffin and surrounding Spalding County becomes known as a better and better sports town. Local athletes, like Spalding High linebacker Grayson Jones, just seem to get noticed. The rising senior received a personal invitation to visit the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga this past weekend.
“It was awesome,” said Jones. “I loved the campus and the coaches.”
On the way back he stopped in Birmingham to attend a combine where he ran a 5.2 in the 40 and 4.4 in the shuttle in addition to benching 185 pounds 15 times and hitting 25 inches on the vertical.
A day before Jones’ trip, Griffin High lineman Nhyjal Sims became the fourth Bear to sign ” joining Greg Worthy (Furman), Kentorius Jackson (GMC) and Shun Wiley (Feather River Community College in California) ” this season when he inked with Clark Atlanta.
Two other Griffin High football players, Rodnekus Lindsey and Sheldon Hancock, have already been made offers by junior colleges ” Dean (in Massachusetts) and Reedley (in California), respectively ” but have not accepted.
Spalding High’s Ken Gates, Nate Baker, Greg Murphy and Cortez Puckett have already signed (all with Concordia College in Selma, Ala.) as has Najee Leftwich (Alabama State).
Off the gridiron, other recent signees have included Spalding High soccer standout Patricia-Anne Upson (Mercer), Griffin High softball standout Nakina Alford (Tennessee State) and Spalding High cross country standout Will Ficklen (Wake Forest).
These days it’s nothing to go to a Griffin High baseball game and see pro scouts intently watching slugger Telvin Nash, who has already signed to play baseball next season at Kennesaw State.
Speaking of which, a host of former Spalding High track stars continue to shine at the collegiate level. Former SHS athletes who will be competing at nationals next week: Russell Jones (Columbus State), Rabah Syed (Georgia State), Jasmine Van Exel (Paine), Antoinette “Bones” Jordan (Georgia Southern) and Amy Ellison (Alabama Birmingham).
It should also be noted former Spalding High softball standout Brittany Wilson was named Savannah State’s MVP this past season. Another local player doing well is former Griffin High basketball standout Arthur “Pete” Driver who played this past semester at Gordon College and is expected to sign with Life University at 1 p.m., today in Barnesville, Ga.
(John Sullivan is the Sports Editor of the Griffin Daily News)