College Football Recruiting

High school football success doesn't always bring scholarships

BCS school offers not plentiful around Triangle

tstevens@newsobserver.comFebruary 6, 2013 

  • Raleigh-area athletes who are expected to sign Many of the players will sign National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, but others will accept institutional scholarships. Some schools are prohibited from giving athletic scholarships, but can give scholarships to potential athletes. A majority of the players are receiving partial athletic scholarships. The list was compiled from reports from area high schools: FOOTBALL Blake Aaron, Middle Creek, Campbell Jonathan Alston, Bunn, N.C. State Samuel Anumihe, Southeast Raleigh, ASA Junior Coll. Chase Arrington, Lee County, Gardner-Webb Demage Bailey, Clayton, East Carolina Connor Barbour, Clayton, Coastal Carolina Michael Booker, South Johnston**, Fort Scott CC John Brown, Durham Jordan, U.S. Naval Academy Buddy Burgess, South Johnston, Guilford Nick Carroll, Cardinal Gibbons, Charlotte Sandy Chapman, Southeast Raleigh, Old Dominion John Cook, North Raleigh Christian, Davidson Corey Cooper, Millbrook, Syracuse Ryan Dowell, Middle Creek, Campbell Alex Duncan, Chapel Hill, Naval Academy *Jordan Fieulleteau, Wakefield, North Carolina Khris Francis, Durham Hillside, North Carolina James Foushee, Lee County, Guilford College Anthony Galavotti, Garner, Western Carolina Terry Gilman, Garner, Bridgewater College Dylan Hartigan, Green Hope, Wingate Christian Hartsfield, Panther Creek, Shaw University Nick Haskins, Cardinal Gibbons, Elon Nick Holloway, Cardinal Gibbons, Richmond Brian Hughes, Middle Creek, Methodist Austin Jacobs, Cleveland, Western Carolina Jarrett Jacumin, North Raleigh Christian, App State Austin Johnson, Lee County, Brevard College Dante Jones, Southeast Raleigh, Appalachian State Entrone “Reco” Jones, Heritage, Tusculum College Cody Lanier, Lee County, UNC-Pembroke T.J. Lett, Lee County, Brevard Jon McBride, Fuquay-Varina, N.C. Central Josh McNeil, Durham Hillside**, Copiah-Lincoln Junior College *Connor Mitch, Wakefield, South Carolina Daniel Nash, Holly Springs, football, W. Carolina Seth Peele, North Johnston, Wingate Austin Raynor, South Johnston, Tusculum College Josh Ricci, Fuquay-Varina, Lenoir Rhyne *David Salmon, Middle Creek, Campbell Tremayne Salim, Durham Jordan, Bridgewater Coll. Tyler Scoville, Cleveland, UNC Pembroke Reese Setzer, Lee County, Guilford College Xavier Smith, Wakefield, East Carolina Brian Stryffeler, Lee County, Wingate Mike Sutton, Panther Creek, Air Force Academy Darnell Thompson, Wakefield, Tusculum College Tre Wells, Lee County, Greensboro College Korin Wiggins, Durham Hillside, North Carolina Quentin Williams, South Johnston, Elizabeth City St. Quincy Williams, South Johnston, Guilford Taylor Wilson, Wakefield, Butler University Wolfgang Zacherl, Broughton, Charlotte Trevor Zaraba, Cardinal Gibbons, Wingate BOYS’ SOCCER Bardia Asefnia, Cardinal Gibbons, Drexel Samantha Bagherpour, Cary, Lynchburg College Grant Bishop, Broughton, Wake Forest Simon Burke, Leesville Road, Appalachian State Ricky Chavez, Heritage, UNC-Pembroke Bria Dixon, Cary, Virginia Tech Evan Dycaza, Apex, Furman Yanni Hachem, Cardinal Gibbons, N.C. State Kellen Foster, Green Hope, UNC Wilmington Michael Hinkson, Wakefield, N.C. State Tommy Labriola, Green Hope, Appalachian State Davis Robinson, Apex, N.C. State Erin Tanhauser, Heritage, Elon GIRLS’ SOCCER Cameron Castleberry, Ravenscroft, North Carolina Brianne Boldrin, Athens Drive, Stetson University Joanna Boyles, Sanderson, North Carolina Caroline Brown, Broughton, Villanova Brae Buster, Cary Christian, Pfeiffer Oliva Costella, Sanderson, Winthrop Sydney Curtis, Green Hope, Virginia Tech Anne Cushman, Leesville Road, Winthrop Jill Davis, Lee County, High Point University Alexis Degler, Green Hope, Ohio State Bria Dixon, Cary, Virginia Tech Caroline Duncan, Winthrop Taylor Francis, Panther Creek, Pittsburgh Christina Gibbons, Cardinal Gibbons, Duke Shelby Hicks, Durham Jordan, Charlotte Abby Holt, Wakefield, UNC Asheville Brittany Larussa, Knightdale, Meredith Callie McClain, Green Hope, UNCWilmington Alex Moiseenko, Chapel Hill, UNCGreensboro Kasey O’Hara, Holly Springs, Mt. Olive Morgan Porter, Sanderson, Campbell Megan Poth, Holly Springs, Flagler College Paige Reckert, Apex, Clemson Kelsey Reeves, Leesville Road, East Carolina Cameron Sigmon, Green Hope, Coll. of Charleston Sara Snotherly, Knightdale, Methodist University Alexis Shaffer, Green Hope, Virginia Cameron Sigmon, Green Hope Col. of Charleston *Carleigh Tinstmen, Sanderson, Western Carolina Kristin Twomey, Cardinal Gibbons, Concord (W.Va.) Morgan Vezina, Green Hope, Old Dominion Claire Wagner, Panther Creek, Clemson Kaitlin Walker, Apex, Charlotte Anna Witte, Cary, Penn State Taylor Wood, Sanderson, Western Carolina Ashleigh Yando, Leesville Road, Averett BOYS’ TRACK/CROSS COUNTRY Bakri Abushouk, Cary, N.C. State Jack Nosbisch, Holly Springs, Citadel GIRLS’ TRACK/ CROSS COUNTRY Margaret Edwards, Ravenscroft, UNCWilmington Cidny Ford, Wakefield, N.C. State Wesley Frazier, Ravenscroft, Duke Katie Gamble, Millbrook, UNC Asheville Tyra Lea, Wakefield, N.C. State Kristen Lee, Wakefield, Virginia Tech Mo McDonnell, Green Hope, East Carolina Tiana Patillo, Wakefield, N.C. State Mollie Williams Clayton, South Carolina Allie Worsdale, Green Hope, UNC Wilmington GIRLS’ FIELD HOCKEY Robin Blazing, Durham Academy, Duke Taylor Ednie, Ravenscroft, Georgetown Savannah Jane Story, Ravenscroft, Duke *Has enrolled in college ** 2012 graduate

Leesville Road fielded one of the best high school football teams in the state in 2012, but you’d never guess how good they were judging by the interest shown to Pride players by college football recruiters.

The program has lost only two games in the past two years, but coach Chad Smothers doesn’t expect any of his players to sign national letters of intent Wednesday during the first day of the signing period.

Leesville and Garner were undefeated when they met in the quarterfinals of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4AA quarterfinals last season.

But the two schools have produced only two football scholarship seniors, Garner offensive lineman Anthony Galavotti, who is signing with Western Carolina, and Garner two-way star Terry Gilman, who is headed to Bridgewater (Va.) College.

Bridgewater is an NCAA Division II school that doesn’t offer football scholarships.

“Ours are academic scholarships,” said Tim Leister, the Bridgewater sports information director.

Gilman’s play as a defensive end and tight end opened the door at Bridgewater, but his academics got him inside.

The same is true for Middle Creek quarterback David Salmon, who passed for 3,183 yards and 36 touchdowns last fall. He already has enrolled at Campbell University, which is a member of the NCAA Division I FCS, but as a member of the Pioneer League doesn’t give football scholarships.

Campbell offers its football recruits a financial aid package that is the equivalent of an athletic scholarship, but its football players will not sign national letters of intent.

Football scholarships of any description are even more scarce at Leesville Road (12-1), which ripped through the Cap Eight 4A undefeated the past two seasons and whose only two losses during the last two years were deep in the playoffs to Garner, and at Wake Forest-Rolesville, which finished 9-3.

Leesville is known for producing college players such as the University of North Carolina’s Pete Mangum and N.C. State’s Taylor Gentry and Zach Gentry. Wake Forest has a reputation for physical, fast players.

But college recruiters haven’t been offering.

“I think it is a joke that the kids at Leesville, Wake Forest and Garner aren’t getting college offers,” Smothers said.

Leesville has been a dominant program, but since 2006 has had only three Division I scholarship winners as seniors – Thomas Wilson, Elon; Zack Greene, Duke; and Brandon Pittman, N.C. State. Six other players earned scholarships after going to school as walk-on non-scholarship players.

The roster at Matthews Butler, the NCHSAA 4AA champion, was filled with NCAA Division I scholarship winners, but the Bulldogs are the exception.

“I learned a long time ago that I don’t know what college recruiters are looking for,” said former Garner coach Nelson Smith. “I tell recruiters that a kid could help them, could play for them, but they don’t think so.”

Smith said he is mystified that 2011 Southeast Raleigh quarterback David Washington, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound athlete who eventually signed with Old Dominion, wasn’t heavily recruited by Division I in-state schools. ODU is an NCAA Division I FCS school.

“Washington was one of the best players I’ve ever seen in high school,” Smith said. “I can’t understand why every major college in the state was not after him.”

Garner’s Kameron Smith, who was the CIAA offensive football player of the year in 2012, wasn’t a hot recruiting commodity when he was a senior either. He signed with the Naval Academy and later transferred to Winston-Salem State.

Retiring Clayton coach Gary Fowler said he has learned through the years he doesn’t know what college recruiters are looking for, either. He had had only two Division I football scholarship winners in 30 years at the school before East Carolina offered Demage Bailey (6-4, 245 ) this year.

“I went through it as a parent,” Fowler said. “The colleges around here were not interested in my son Drew because he wasn’t quick enough. I understand that. But he was quick enough to start at the Air Force Academy for four years.”

“You’d like to think that colleges would be looking for players who have had success. There is usually a reason that some teams are successful. The successful teams usually have good kids with good character. But colleges are trying to project who will be able to play in three, four, five years. They are looking at potential, not achievement.”

Combines and college-sponsored camps are becoming more important in the recruiting process than high school competition.

“I’m sick of hearing about combines,” Garner’s Smith said.

College recruiters are more likely to offer a 6-5, 300-pound player who has good speed but limited experience than a smaller player who is a high school standout.

“I think that’s one reason you see so many recruits who don’t make it in college,” Fowler said. “Colleges are looking for potential and a lot of people don’t ever reach their potential.”

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