Home / Sandy Creek has 11 sign athletic scholarships
Sandy Creek has 11 sign athletic scholarships
By Jacob Renie
Special to The Citizen
It was national signing day for all future bound college athletes and at Sandy Creek, it was particularly momentous. Eleven players attended the ceremony along with dozens of family and friends as they prepared for the next stage of their lives.
Assistant Principal Ken Woods introduced them, "It's a pleasure to watch them play. They honor their family, and they honor this school."
First to sign was track star Devon Lewis to the University of South Carolina. Lewis holds the school records in the Boys' 100-meter and 200-meter with times of 10.57 seconds and 21.24 seconds respectively. These place him in the top 35 in the nation for both. The 5-foot-8 senior is also the reigning Georgia Class AAA State Champion in the 100 where he won won last year with a time of 10.79 seconds.
Following was a slew of football players -- ten, the most in school history. These seniors have gone 56-2 in the last four years and have won three state championships as well as four region championships. Coach Chip Walker said, "This year was probably the most fun in terms of coaching … It's a special group of people just to be around." Many of these graduating seniors will play each other at the next level and some will play together on the same team with current and former teammates.
Zach Lane signed with Walker's alma mater, Tusculum College in Tennessee. The 5-foot-11, 215 pound, defensive end played a huge role in the strong Patriot defense this year. He had 42 total tackles with a season high of 12 against Burke County in the playoffs. He also had two in the state championship against Ridgeland.
After him was Jaylon Harvey who signed with Mars Hill University. "He moved in last year and contributed in every way we asked," Walker said of him. The 189 pound linebacker had 30 tackles and forced two fumbles, one against Ridgeland in the state championship. He also had an interception and had a season high of six tackles, two of which were in the backfield, against county rival, Fayette County.
Another new kid on the block, Kyle Wilson, signed with the University of Memphis. The senior was second in receiving yards for the Patriots with 633. Standing a tall 6-foot-3, the wide receiver's 35-inch vertical helped him to catch four touchdowns this season, one a big 37-yarder against Ridgeland. He also returned two kick-offs and ran one back 72 yards for six.
Josh Branom, signed with Tusculum College, the second of three. The 6-foot-1, 220 pound defensive end was a key player on Sandy Creek's strong line according to Walker. The senior also had 35 tackles, forced a fumble, and had five sacks.
Kicker Mitchell McMillin signed to West Georgia. The two-time All-State selectee, "Holds every kicking record in school history," said Walker. And this includes a long 54-yard field goal against Shaw. The kicker finished 10-15 on field goals, had seven kicking touchbacks, and averaged 37 yards on punts. He had his longest punt of 51 yards against Shaw. On the season he had five punts of 40 or more yards and was the leg behind Sandy Creek's special teams.
In addition to Lewis, another future Sandy Creek alumni signed with South Carolina, offensive tackle Alan Knott. Knott was an unanimous All-State selectee and Walker described him as, "The best offensive lineman in Sandy Creek history." The 6-foot-five, 260 pound senior was also a Semper Fidelis All-American. ESPN ranked the four star athlete No. 18 on its Top 100 Offensive Tackles in the nation with specialties in blocking, space blocking, and physicality.
Another offensive lineman, Issac Saxon, signed with Lenoir Ryhne University. The 6-foot, 290 pound offensive guard "helped to pave the way to the best offensive line in school history," said Walker.
Back on defense, lineman Spencer Roberts was the third member to sign with Tusculum College. The 225 pound player had 37 tackles and two fumble recoveries, one against Ridgeland in championship. His highlight game was against Shaw where he had eight tackles, one for a loss.
Cornerback sensation Shaquille Wiggins signed to the University of Georgia. The four star athlete and two time All-State member set the Sandy Creek single season record for interceptions with nine last year as a junior. This year he had three and had a season high of five tackles in the playoff game against Eastside. The same team that he single-handily beat the year before with an interception followed by the game winning touchdown catch with less than two minutes to play. While only 5-foot-10, his 31-inch vertical more than compensated in helping him to become an Under Armour All-American, Lemming's top 25 cornerback, and No. 39 on ESPN's Top 150. He is ranked sixth in his position by ESPN, according to which he specializes in man and zone coverage, ball skills, and instincts.
And last to sign was Corey Griffin with Georgia Tech. While the 6-foot-2 safety may have been undecided the day before, he and his whole family proudly displayed his choice as they all wore Georgia Tech hats and shirts. He was named to both the 1st Team All-State and All-County teams this year. He had 78 total tackles this season and had one interception and one fumble recovery. His season highlights were against Carrolton and Shaw where he had 11 and 10 tackles respectively. He also blocked an extra point against Fayette County and blocked a field goal attempt against Alexander.
In addition to these players, both Jessica Sauer and Kara Barber signed to Columbus for soccer and Safiya Martin signed to Temple for basketball, but their ceremony will be celebrated later.
Stats were taken from MaxPreps and ESPN.com.