High School Football

Ridgeland's Scott highlights National Signing Day for area players

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.com, ccox@islandpacket.comFebruary 2, 2012 

Wesley Scott, not satisfied with his maroon shirt and black tie, pulled off his grey sweater and tugged on a hooded sweatshirt bearing the Miami (Ohio) University logo.

The Ridgeland defensive end never wavered from his verbal commitment to the RedHawks, making it official Wednesday at the Jasper County School District boardroom. Scott said he entertained no thoughts of other schools since committing last year.

Scott said RedHawks coaches want him at 280 pounds, up from the 235 he weighs now. A new diet and life in the weight room are on the horizon.

"I'm just ready to get up there and play," he said.

Scott was one three football players from the Beaufort-Jasper area to sign letters of intent to NCAA Division I schools, joined by Kyle Weaver of Hilton Head Christian Academy and Charlie Morrison-Ford of Hardeeville High School.

Weaver, the region player of the year for the Eagles, signed to play for Kevin Higgins and The Citadel. The 280-pound lineman played on both sides of the ball for the Christian Academy, but will focus on the interior of the offensive line for the Bulldogs and their triple-option offense.

"Originally, I didn't want to go to The Citadel," Weaver said. "I ruled it out. But I went over the summer and I just really liked the coaches. The coaches just were so much different from the other colleges."

Morrison-Ford, meanwhile, signed to play for the Buccaneers of Charleston Southern. Morrison-Ford, who received an offer from Memphis of the Football Bowl Subdivision, will begin his career at defensive back for CSU but may get a chance to carry the ball on offense, he said. He finished his high school career with eight interceptions and more than 200 tackles, and recorded just under 2,000 yards on offense.

Joining Scott in Ridgeland's first signing day ceremony was teammate Tyron Mikell, who will play free safety or receiver at Newberry. Mikell visited the campus this past weekend and said he liked the family feel.

At Beaufort High, punter and kicker Kyle Clark and linebacker Maliek Maldonado also signed their intent to play at Newberry. Clark chose the Wolves over Furman and Coastal Carolina, saying the small campus and class sizes appealed to him. Maldonado received interest from Presbyterian and North Greenville, but only visited Newberry. He expects to redshirt his first year and compete for a starting spot after that.

"That first impression really got me," said Maldonado, the Eagles' leading tackler this past season.

Hardeeville also sent Dominque Riley, a linebacker who recorded 110 tackles and six sacks in 2011, to the Newberry Wolves. Riley, an all-region selection by The Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette, was Hardeeville's team MVP this season.

Bluffton High School had three players sign to play collegiate football, headlined by Michael Grant and Dimitri Lowry, who will play for NCAA Division II school Johnson C. Smith in Charlotte. Grant, a safety who was named South Carolina's Shrine Bowl MVP, will move from outside linebacker to strong safety for the Golden Bulls. Lowry, a wide receiver who grabbed 1,209 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns, will get a chance to return home, as he is a native of the Charlotte area.

Bobcats defensive tackle LaDarius Hughes signed to play for Georgia Military College after also considering Hutchinson (Ka.) Community College and Arizona Western College.

Beaufort High defensive back Davontae Green will play at Greenville Tech prep school, joining former teammate Dymonte Gwathney.

Ridgeland's Derrick Solomon, Xavier Capers and Torray Amlett will play at Orangeburg Calhoun Prepratory Academy.

WEDNESDAY'S COLLEGE SIGNINGS

Name: Wesley Scott

High school: Ridgeland

Sport: Football

High school coach: Richard Kirkland

Position: Defensive end

College: Miami (Ohio) University

Probable major: Zoology

About Miami (Ohio) University: The RedHawks compete in the Mid-American Conference. They finished 4-7 in 2011.

Why Miami? Scott said he liked the chance to go somewhere new and RedHawks coaches' talk of grinning him for professional football.

Other schools considered: Georgia Tech, Maryland, S.C. State

Other high school sports played: track and field

Accolades: 2011 Shrine Bowl selection

Scholarship: Yes

Name: Kyle Weaver

High school: Hilton Head Christian Academy

Sport: Football

High school coach: Tommy Lewis

College: The Citadel

Probable major: Criminal Justice

About The Citadel: Kevin Higgins is entering his eighth season as the Bulldogs' head coach. The Citadel competes in the Southern Conference.

Why The Citadel? "I went over the summer and I just really liked the coaches. The coaches just were so much different from the other colleges. They care about you."

Other schools considered: Elon, Western Carolina

Other high school sports played: Basketball, golf

Accolades: Two-time first-team all-region, 2011 region player of the year, two-time SCISAA all-state selection, 2011 SCISAA defensive MVP, 2011 Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette all-area team.

Scholarship: Athletics

Name: Charlie Morrison-Ford

High school: Hardeeville High School

Sport: Football

High school coach: Blake Raley

College: Charleston Southern University

Probable major: Nursing

About CSU: Jay Mills has served as head coach of the Buccaneers for more than 10 years. Charleston Southern is a Division 1-AA school that competes in the Big South conference.

Why CSU? "The location, it's so close. ... And from what I've been learning, their nursing program is one of the best in the state."

Other schools considered: Memphis, Georgia Southern, Liberty, N.C. Central

Other high school sports played: Baseball, track

Scholarship: Athletics and academics

Name: Michael Grant

High school: Bluffton High School

Sport: Football

High school coach: Ken Cribb

College: Johnson C. Smith University

Probable major: Business Management

About JCSU: Steven Aycock is entering his fourth season as head coach of the Golden Bulls. JCSU is an NCAA Division II school that completes in the CIAA.

Why JCSU? "The area. It's like right in downtown Charlotte. They also gave Dimitri (Lowry) a full ride, so with me going with one of my former teammates, it just made it all perfect."

Other schools considered: Newberry, Western Carolina

Other high school sports played: Basketball, baseball

Accolades: 2011 South Carolina Shrine Bowl MVP, all-region and all-state selection, 2011 The Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette Defensive Player of the Year.

Scholarship: Athletics

Name: Dimitri Lowry

High school: Bluffton High School

Sport: Football

High school coach: Ken Cribb

College: Johnson C. Smith University

Probable major: Sports Management

About JCSU: Steven Aycock is entering his fourth season as head coach of the Golden Bulls. JCSU is a Division II school that completes in the CIAA.

Why JCSU? "It's a great college with a great atmosphere. I love the coaches, I love the players. I'm from Charlotte, my whole family lives there. It's a great community. I love it."

Other schools considered: Wingate, Lenoir-Rhyne, North Greenville

Other high school sports played: Basketball, soccer

Accolades: All-region and all-state selection.

Scholarship: Athletics

Name: Maliek Maldonado

High school: Beaufort High School

Sport: Football

High school coach: Mark Clifford

Position: Linebacker

College: Newberry

Probable major: Physical education

About Newberry College: The Wolves finished 4-6 in 2011, with a 4-3 record in the South Atlantic Conference.

Why Newberry? "I took the visit to Newberry twice," Maldonado said. "That first impression really got me."

Other schools considered: North Greenville, Presbyterian

Other high school sports played: Wrestling

Accolades: All-region selection, 2011 state champion wrestler

Scholarship: Yes

Name: Kyle Clark

High school: Beaufort High School

Sport: Football

High school coach: Mark Clifford

Position: Punter/kicker

College: Newberry

Probable major: Computer science

About Newberry College: The Wolves finished 4-6 in 2011, with a 4-3 record in the South Atlantic Conference.

Why Newberry? "I like the family stuff they do there," Clark said. "Everybody's part of the community and everything."

Other schools considered: Furman, Coastal Carolina

Other high school sports played: Soccer

Accolades: North-South All-Star, Palmetto Champions All-Star

Scholarship: Yes

Name: Tyron Mikell

High school: Ridgeland

Sport: Football

High school coach: Richard Kirkland

Position: Safety, wide receiver

College: Newberry

Probable major: Nursing/biology

About Newberry College: The Wolves finished 4-6 in 2011, with a 4-3 record in the South Atlantic Conference.

Why Newberry? "They made me feel like I was family," Mikell said. "It had a real nice atmosphere. I loved the campus."

Other schools considered: Presbyterian, North Greenville

Other high school sports played: Basketball

Accolades: Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette all-area team, 2010 and 2011

Scholarship: Yes

Name: Dominque Riley

High school: Hardeeville High School

Sport: Football

High school coach: Blake Raley

College: Newberry

Probable major: Pre-Veterinary

About Newberry: Todd Knight is entering his fourth season as head coach of the Wolves. Newberry is a Division II school that competes in the South Atlantic Conference.

Why Newberry? "They treat you like family and make you feel a part of them."

Other schools considered: S.C. State

Accolades: 2010 Hardeeville High team MVP, two-time all-region and all-state selection.

Scholarship: Athletics

Name: LaDarius Hughes

High school: Bluffton High School

Sport: Football

High school coach: Ken Cribb

College: Georgia Military College

Probable major: Business

About GMC: Bert Williams has been the head coach of the Bulldogs since 2000. He led GMC to the 2001 NJCAA National Championship and two national runner-up finishes in 2002 and 2005.

Why GMC? "I thought they have a good structural foundation and discipline. I think they're going to stay on me more in my studies, because my study habits are not so good."

Other schools considered: Hutchinson (Ka.) Community College, Arizona Western College

Other high school sports played: Wrestling, track and field

Scholarship: Athletics

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