Mike Rentz heard the stories his father told about life at the U.S. Naval Academy and was drawn to the possibility of attending a military school.
For a long time, the Naval Academy was his dream, but Rentz realized the stringent acceptance standards might stand in his way. The Citadel became the next logical choice.
The Beaufort High School offensive lineman connected with his target school and will attend as a preferred walk-on on the Bulldogs football team.
"His stories and him talking about all the stuff they used to do and all the fun they used to have probably swung me towards The Citadel," Rentz said. "And then I went up there and visited about this time last year and just figured out that's where I wanted to play."
Rentz plans to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps after graduation and move into a career in engineering. He said Bulldogs coaches want him to add 15 pounds to reach 250 and continue to play offensive line, where Rentz has been anchored for about a dozen years.
Rentz was a three-year starter for the Eagles after being called up for the final few varsity games his freshman year.
Beaufort High coach Mark Clifford said he likes to start a sophomore on the line to allow time for him to know the schemes thoroughly by his senior year.
And Rentz filled that role as captain this past season. On film, he was often the last lineman in his stance, waiting to communicate instructions.
"He had been coached up for three years on what we do and who we trap and who we double team and who we combo to," Clifford said. "And he knew all the schemes just as good as (senior quarterback Ben Vaigneur) did."
WHALE BRANCH COACHING SEARCH SET TO HEAT UP
Whale Branch Early College High School athletics director Carlos Cave said there should be some movement soon in the school's search to fill its vacant girls basketball coaching position.
"We're going to hopefully begin interviewing the latter part of next week," Cave said Thursday. "I'm going to make contact with the applicants. We have roughly 10 applicants thus far. I haven't had a chance to check my email this afternoon to see if I received any more. So we'll begin that process hopefully the latter part of next week."
Wilbert Bryant stepped down as coach March 13 but remains at the school in an administrative role. Bryant, 65, coached the Warriors each of the program's four seasons and won the Region 5-A title in his final two years.
SCISAA NORTH-SOUTH BASKETBALL
Several area players took part in the four SCISAA North-South All-Star basketball games March 8 at Wilson Hall in Sumter.
In the South's 110-105 loss in the 3-A boys game, Hilton Head Christian's Ryan Barrett scored 21 and Hilton Head Prep's Brennan Mikell added 12.
In the South's 99-69 win in the 3-A girls game, Hilton Head Christian's Ziaira Doe scored 15 and Eagles teammate Macee Tamminen added nine.
In the South's 92-91 win in the 1-A/2-A boys game, Thomas Heyward Academy's Dylan Tillotson scored three points.
In the South's 64-32 loss in the 1-A/2-A girls game, Thomas Heyward Academy's Ellie Bryan had two points.
Follow reporter Stephen Fastenau at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.