Wednesday’s signing day in the area will be mostly void of suspense, big-time signees or a lot of different high school celebrations.
As of Tuesday, 25 players, who all already have made public their decisions, are expected to sign football scholarships with only two inking with a major Division I program. The 25 will represent just five of the 37 high schools in the area.
Dothan High has seven football players expected to sign – all at NAIA, NCAA Division III or a prep school. Enterprise and Abbeville expect four players each to ink with football programs. Eufaula is expecting five new players to sign after three signed with major schools in the early signing period. AISA Class AAA champion Pike Liberal Arts also has five scheduled to sign on Wednesday.
At present, the headliners of Wednesday’s signees are Enterprise athlete Josh McCray and Eufaula standout Emmanual Stevenson. McCray, a running back and a first-team Class 7A all-state athlete, plans to sign with Illinois of the Big Ten led by new coach Bret Bielema, while Stevenson, a wide receiver/tight end, intends to ink with Arkansas State of the Sun Belt Conference, led by new coach Butch Jones, a former Tennessee head coach and Alabama offensive analyst.
The other Enterprise signees beside McCray are Jared Smith, Jaylon Webster and Carson Cole.
Smith, coming off a four-touchdown receiving game and offensive MVP honors at the Blue-Gray All-American showcase in Dallas on Jan. 25, received a lot of late offers before committing Tuesday to Division II West Florida of the Gulf South Conference. Webster, a defensive back, is also planning to play in the Gulf South with West Alabama. Cole, an offensive lineman, plans to play at NAIA’s Point University of West Point, Ga.
The Dothan players, as of Tuesday, signing are defensive lineman Chevalie Condry, defensive back Kam Dawsey, defensive end J.K. Frazier, offensive lineman James Hall, fullback Jason Hall, linebacker Jordan Harris and defensive back Keon Jackson.
Dawsey and Frazier are planning to ink with Iowa Western and Otterbein University (Ohio), respectively, while the two Halls plan to sign with NAIA Mount Marty of South Dakota, a third-year football program, and Harris with NAIA Sterling College (Kansas). Condry plans to ink with Good Elite Prep Academy in Gulf Shores and Jackson with Tennessee Valley Prep Academy in Huntsville.
In addition to Stevenson signing with Arkansas State, four other Eufaula players are planning to sign Wednesday, including Class 6A second-team all-state quarterback Hess Horne. The two-time Dothan Eagle Super 12 honoree plans to sign with Missouri State, a Division I Football Championship Sub-Division team under the direction of former Arkansas and Atlanta Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino.
Defensive back Zadan Thomas, a second-team all-state selection this past fall, plans to sign with NAIA Peru State College in Nebraska, while offensive lineman Aaronde Brown plans to sign with Division II Miles College of Atlanta and fellow offensive lineman Kenneth McCray with NAIA Tabor College in Kansas.
Abbeville, this past year’s AHSAA Class 2A runner-up, has four players planning to sign, including tight end Gabriel Shell and offensive lineman Devion Smith with Division II Tuskegee. Linebacker Arthur (AJ) Thomas, a first-team all-state selection, and defensive back Jayven Anderson, a second-team all-state player, are both signing with NAIA programs –Thomas with the University of Pikeville in Kentucky and Anderson with Faulkner in Montgomery.
Also signing Wednesday are five players at Pike Liberal Arts, including first-team all-state honorees Jay Taylor, Caleb Guice and Peyton Dicks. Taylor, a wide receiver, intends to ink with Fort Scott (Kansas) Community College, while both Guice, a defensive lineman, and Dicks, a linebacker, plan to sign with Independence (Kansas) Community College.
Pike Lib wide receiver Elijah Caldwell, a second-team all-state player last fall, and linebacker Derrius Northcutt both plan to ink with Faulkner University.
Those signing Wednesday join six high school seniors who signed football scholarships in December. Those six were Dothan’s Jayden Folmar with Rice and Bauer Sharp with Southeastern Louisiana, Eufaula teammates Rodarius Thomas with Mississippi State, Jay Towsend with South Alabama and Dimonyai Lacey with Murray State plus Pike Liberal Arts’ Scott Taylor Renfroe with Troy.