It seemed like all six of Forsyth Central’s athletes who signed national letters of intent Wednesday had somewhere to go after the school’s afternoon ceremony.
Football player Hunter Stephens had a live recruiting show that his college of choice, Black Hills State, was about to broadcast. Sabrian Howard (Cornell football), Jacob Woodard (Birmingham-Southern football) and Taliyah Manning (Brenau University track and volleyball) all had loads of family and friends to entertain. Soccer players Anna Higginbotham (Georgia Southwestern) and Kirbi Matthews (Berry College) had practice. So did wrestler Sebastian Legarra (Reinhardt University).
They earned the respite after an hour event in front of a packed cafeteria where coaches recited each athletes’ on-field accolades and off-field character. Then, it was the athletes’ turn.
“It feels great to continue my education and career in football,” Howard said. “I’m thankful for all my teammates and coaches who helped me out, my linemen for blocking the way for me. And I’m just excited to see what the future holds.”
Howard has somewhat of a shared future with a Forsyth County counterpart: Richie Kenney, the Lambert quarterback who also committed to Cornell.
Howard had verbally committed to the Big Red almost two months ago, not long after an injury-shortened senior season in which he rushed for 819 yards and 11 touchdowns in just seven games.
After he committed, Howard said he started to hear from Cornell coaches about their interest in Kenney, but even the Lambert senior’s commitment a week ago surprised him.
“My coach told me a little bit that they were talking to him, but I didn’t know he was going to commit, but that was kind of a surprise,” Howard said. “I thought they were waiting and still talking about it. It’ll definitely be cool to go up to New York with another Forsyth guy with me.”
Central’s athletes embraced the celebratory event.
Stephens wore a Black Hills State sweater, bow tie and winter cap in the school’s green and yellow colors – appropriate attire for someone spending much of the next four years in South Dakota.
Legarra signed with Reinhardt to play football and wrestle, the first wrestler from the school to sign an athletic scholarship since 1994.
As a future Eagle, he brought an ink pen with eagle feather attached.