High School Football

Thomas Heyward's Tuten says he'll play for Berry

Rebels standout will play cornerback in Division II school's first year of football

mmccombs@islandpacket.comFebruary 4, 2013 

Thomas Heyward Academy quarterback/defensive back JD Tuten has committed to play football at Division III Berry College.

DELAYNA EARLEY THE ISLAND PACKET — DELAYNA EARLEY, Staff photo

There will be no letter of intent to sign, and even after signing day, he can change his mind.

But for now, at least, Thomas Heyward Academy quarterback J.D. Tuten has committed to play football at Division III Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga.

"If after signing day, I get an offer I can't refuse, I'll have to sit down and think about it," Tuten said.

Tuten said the Vikings were recruiting him as a cornerback, a position where he earned Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette All-Area second-team honors.

During the all-area nomination process, Hilton Head Christian Academy head coach Tommy Lewis called Tuten the "most complete football player" the Eagles faced.

"He's an incredible defender at either safety or corner, plays the ball well and is an excellent tackler," Lewis said.

Tuten made 48 tackles, three for loss, and recorded six interceptions last season. He averaged 16.2 yards on 10 punt returns and 28.4 yards on 10 kickoff returns, taking one of each for a touchdown.

As a quarterback, Tuten completed 82 of 141 passes for 1,422 yards and 16 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. He also rushed 108 times for 1,176 yards, a 10.89 average, and 12 touchdowns.

Despite several nagging injuries, he led the Rebels (12-2) to a SCISAA Class 2-A state championship appearance.

Earlier, Tuten was leaning toward accepting a partial scholarship to play receiver at Furman but decided to go in a different direction.

Berry, a member of the Southern Athletic Association, announced in Oct. 2011 that it would add football. The 2013 season will be the first for the Vikings.

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