To say Savannah State got in the game late would be an understatement.
But Jamie Whalen was glad the Tigers got in the game at all.
Whale Branch Early College High School's two-time Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette all-area volleyball player signed a letter of intent to play for Savannah State University on Wednesday.
"I'm really excited," said Whalen, whose signing ceremony coincided with another family member's birthday. "Some of my family from out of state were able to make it here."
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Whalen said she first heard from Tigers head coach Jolanta Graham in March and got an offer in early April.
"I was really surprised," said Whalen, who had been planning on attending Charleston Southern. "I wasn't going to play there."
"It's well-deserved," said Jim Whalen, Jamie's father. "Her sisters played volleyball, but she's a whole other level. I'm just playing the part of proud father right now."
Savannah State, an NCAA Division I school that plays in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, went 0-34 last season and head coach Scahnnon Gamble was replaced at midseason by then-assistant Graham, who has ties to Beaufort County.
Graham, who lives on Hilton Head Island, was an assistant at Hilton Head Prep from 2007 to 2008 and coached the JV squad at Hilton Head Island from 2009 to 2011. She worked with the Lowcountry Volleyball Club from 2006 to 2010.
Whalen will start school in June and is leaning toward majoring in mass communications.