It was National Signing Day across the country on Wednesday, and some of the country’s elite football talent put pen to paper to make their college decisions official.
While thousands were signing, few of those players will head to their next program as two-time defending state champs on 30-game win streaks.
Wednesday was yet another opportunity to celebrate the Cartersville High football team’s recent run of success, and a chance to honor the program’s all-time winningest class, as seven Canes signed to play in college.
Head coach Joey King said any day you can send that many players to further their educations, it’s a momentous occasion.
“The goal is for these kids to get a college education. Some of these guys will be the first in their families to go to college. That’s a big deal, so that’s why it’s special,” King said. “But it’s also a reward for their hard work, and not only for the kids, but all the people who have poured into them and helped mold and make them who they are today. So they have an opportunity to better themselves and we’re certainly proud of that.”
Among the signees, Trey Creamer signed with Iowa, Sean Holton with Davidson and Trevor Lowe will be a preferred walk-on at Georgia. Standouts Brandon Wade, Torrian Scrutchins and Trase Fezzia all signed with Ellsworth Community College in Iowa.
Meanwhile, Avery Showell made it official he will be playing for Georgia Tech. He was joined in signing by his cousin and recent Cartersville High enrollee Jordan Ferguson, who signed to Middle Tennessee State.
Seven of the 11 members of the football team’s senior class have now signed. The Class of 2017 will graduate with a 53-3 record, two state titles, four region titles and 14 playoff wins, all school records.
The senior class elevated the standard of the school’s football program together, and that made it all the more special for them to sign together.
“I’ve built a relationship with these guys,” Creamer said. “We told each other we were going to make it to the top. We just had to stay focused. ... Watching the other guys on previous signing days, ... I’ve always dreamed of this day coming. Now it’s here and I’m just grateful.”
“I feel like this is what we all looked forward to,” Showell said of signing day. “We pushed each other to this point. There’s a lot of people who are signing today that we pushed. They pushed me and I pushed them. It’s a great family atmosphere.”
Unlike some signings around the nation, there was little suspense at Cartersville as all seven signees had previously committed.
The most recent commitment was senior outside linebacker Trevor Lowe. He originally committed to Furman during his senior season, but later reopened his recruitment with just a few weeks before signing day. Fortunately, Georgia came calling and offered him a preferred walk-on spot on Monday, just two days after a visit and two days before signing day.
Lowe started three years at Cass High as the team’s quarterback, but moved to Cartersville and switched sides of the ball to defense as a senior. He was a first-team all-region and DTN All-County selection at outside linebacker, and was a disruptive force coming off the edge all season.
Despite the late change of plans with Furman and late recruitment by UGA, Lowe is pleased to be going to a major SEC program.
“It’s a blessing. Coming [to Cartersville] when I moved, I was just thinking small Division-I, but for [Georgia] to call and offer me, I couldn’t pass that up,” Lowe said. “Coach [Kirby] Smart and [inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann] gave me an opportunity and I’m going to take it and run with it.”
Lowe’s counterpart at outside linebacker this year for Cartersville, Avery Showell, likewise had a change of plans after originally committing. The two-way standout for Cartersville committed to Wake Forest just before his senior season, but when defensive coordinator Mike Elko left for Notre Dame, he reopened his recruitment on Dec. 16, 2016.
It all worked out for the best, though, as Georgia Tech offered Showell on Jan. 18. An all-state selection and The DTN and Region 5-AAAA Athlete of the Year, it took him all of four days to accept his dream offer.
“It’s a dream come true,” Showell said of signing to the Yellow Jackets. “I wanted to go there since middle school, so I’m glad it happened.”
Adding to the significance of the day for Showell was he got to sign alongside his cousin and former teammate at St. Francis, Jordan Ferguson. Ferguson is a three-star recruit, who transferred to Norcross for his senior season, but has since enrolled at Cartersville in January. He signed Wednesday to Middle Tennessee State.
Ferguson was grateful to be included in Cartersville’s signing day, even though he never got to play for the Canes.
“I came [to Cartersville], and everybody, [Avery] and his family, everyone has just had my back,” Ferguson said. “It’s been like home.”The 6-foot-3, 240-pound tight end had offers from Arizona, Baylor, Kentucky and Georgia State, among others.
“I saw him in the hallway one day and asked who this big ol’ guy was. We found out his story and I told him we wanted to make sure he was celebrated as well,” King said of Ferguson. “He’s a part of our school now and we want to make sure he’s celebrated even though he didn’t play with us. It’s still an opportunity for a young man to go and get a college degree, and we’re certainly happy about that.”
While Ferguson never took the field at Weinman Stadium, Trey Creamer was one of the most prominent members of the two state-title teams. A two-year starter at cornerback and major weapon at running back, Creamer had nearly 1,400 total yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior.
He was an all-state and all-region selection on defense, and was The Daily Tribune News’ Offensive Player of the Year.
He was originally committed to Minnesota, but a coaching change and new interest from other programs led him to go on visits to Iowa and Rutgers in the final two weeks before signing day. He committed to Iowa on Monday.
“The recruitment process kind of got hectic the last month. Ultimately, it came down to what my heart was feeling and what my gut was feeling. I felt more at home at Iowa with the coaching staff and the players,” Creamer said of his decision. “Everything just felt right, and I’m just blessed to have this opportunity to play college ball.”
Holton’s recruitment was much simpler, as the two-year starter at linebacker for the Canes was all but locked in to Davidson since he was offered over the summer. He will be joining the football team at one of the most prestigious colleges in the country after leading the Canes in tackles as a senior and being a first-team all-region and all-county selection.
“It’s pretty cool to make it official,” Holton said of signing. “It’s a great fit for me. I’m looking forward to it.”
“He’ll be set for life going there. It’s a great opportunity,” King said of Holton signing to Davidson. “Sean is a fine young man. ... He made most of the calls and checks on defense. He has a really good head on his shoulders and a bright future ahead of him.”
The largest contingent of Canes will be at Ellsworth Community College. The two-time NJCAA national championship program will be getting three of Cartersville’s best next year.
Cornerback Trase Fezzia was a three-year starter, an all-region and all-county selection, and one of the most prolific three-way playmakers in the state this year.
Ellsworth has had 114 NJCAA All-Americans and has sent 13 players to the NFL, something that intrigued Fezzia.
“They really put people out in the NFL and [four-year] colleges,” Fezzia said. “I wanted to get a new experience, get away from home. I want to see if I can make it out there.”
Scrutchins and Wade will be joining Fezzia and the pair of defensive linemen hope to continue to wreak havoc on offensive lines in college like they did for Cartersville the past two seasons.
Both were all-region and all-county selections, and Scrutchins took home all-state honors as well.
“That’s really cool,” Wade said of going to school with two of his teammates. “Me and Torrian play the same position just about, so we’re going to be together a lot.
“It’ll be a good opportunity for me to better my skills before I go and play for another school.”
All three players have played major roles in the past two state championships, and while King is pleased they are moving on, there are still three more key players that should be making a decision in the coming weeks.
King expects to see Antoine Jefferson, Xavior Coaxum and Dalen Curtis to find homes shortly.