Six Knights put their playing futures on the dotted line

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Six Knights put their playing futures on the dotted line

The Southerner

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Richmond-bound Kieno Jones feels "blessed" to know where he will play in college. Photo by Thomas Cox.

By Thomas Cox

Students patiently waited in the Grady gym to see their fellow classmates sign to the schools of their choice and watch all their hard work pay off with the stroke of a pen.

The day was Wednesday Feb. 1, National Signing Day, the day where athletes all across the country signed national letters of intent to play collegiate sports.

Dr. Propst, Mr. Howard, Dr. Murray and Coach Millen pose with the recruits. Photo by Thomas Cox.

Guests such as head coach Ronnie Millen, Grady administrators, and various other APS officials gathered in the gym to witness this day of culmination and celebration.

Signing Day might seem to many people to be an end, but in reality it’s just the beginning of a new career.

As the players highlights tapes played and they donned baseball hats indicating the colors and mascots of their future college teams, people snapped pictures and applauded.

“I felt relieved I didn’t have to worry what school I wanted to go and very blessed,” said Kieno Jones, an offensive and defensive lineman for the Knights who signed to play college football at Richmond University.

Along with Jones, the Grady athletes who signed included outfielder Mendez Elder, who signed with Savannah State, and football standouts, placekicker and punter Dorian Greene (Morehouse College), outside linebacker Aaron Cooper (Lincoln University), cornerback Quintavious Knight (Georgia Military Academy) and middle linebacker John Law (Appalachian State).

Middle linebacker John Law is App State's top defensive recruit. Photo by Thomas Cox.

The Bleacher Report, a national sports media website, rates Law as the top defensive recruit landed among the Mountaineers’ 18 national signees.

For the six stalwart athletes celebrated on this day, the journey may have seemed short and easy, but in reality it took a lot of hard work. The players cleared many hurdles, from keeping their grades up to getting the required scores on entrance tests; from dominating on the field and at various combines to choosing the school that best fit their needs and goals.

“My biggest challenge was learning how not to get attached to a specific school and keep my options open,” Jones said.

The decision can get tricky when all of the variables affecting the decision come into play, among them the uncertainty of coach’s job security and the shifting number of athletics scholarships allotted for each sport in a given year.  With the proper guidance, however, each athletes was able to make a decision that they feel good about.

With the right guidance and a little luck, who knows? Maybe one of the Knights will land on a future ESPN SportsCenter highlight reel.

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