Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Football Factories; Camden, Charlton Both All Smiles on Signing Day

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Football Factories; Camden, Charlton Both All Smiles on Signing Day

Article excerpt


Camden County and Charlton County are very different high schools.

Camden County is one of the largest schools in Georgia's largest classification. Charlton County is one of the smallest schools in the state's second smallest classification. Camden is a relative newcomer as a powerhouse. Charlton has a long history of being one of the state's elite programs.

But the two schools had one thing in common on Wednesday -- Division I-A talent.

Combined, the two schools had six players sign Division I letters of intent. The group was headlined by Charlton County receiver Justin Williams, who signed with Florida over Georgia and Florida State, and Camden County defensive end Kevin McNeil, a Florida State signee who spurned Georgia for the Seminoles.

Williams and McNeil orally committed weeks ago but made their decisions official at their respective schools Wednesday morning.

"I'm just looking forward to getting there and playing," said Williams, who helped lead the Indians to back-to-back Class AA titles in 2004 and 2005. "There is a deep tradition of great athletes from Charlton County and I want to continue that."

Both schools have built reputations for producing solid recruiting classes and usually have several Division I signees, but this year's group of players was deeper than most, especially for the Wildcats.

Camden County coach Jeff Herron said Camden's seven signings were the most since he took over the Wildcat program in 2000.

"We're as excited as we can be," Herron said. "It's extremely gratifying."

Camden's other Division I signees were cornerback David Coleman (Western Michigan), running back Brandon West (Western Michigan) and cornerback Ashton Hall (Marshall). Linebacker Gary Blount Jr. almost went Division I-A, but signed with Wofford College after considering Harvard, Vanderbilt and Connecticut.

Blount cited Wofford's academics and proximity to Kingsland as factors leading him to accept the Terriers' offer.

"It was a tough decision giving that up," Blount said of rejecting Harvard's offer. "I feel completely comfortable with it."

Defensive back David Pender was Charlton's other Division I signee, choosing Purdue over Illinois. Williams and Pender are just the latest Indians to sign with major Division I programs.

Justin Mincey, who graduated in 2005, signed with Florida State last season but did not qualify academically. He spent a season at Hargrave Military Academy and on Wednesday went back to Charlton County to re-sign with the Seminoles.

In 1996, Champ Bailey signed with Georgia and two years later Boss Bailey, Champ's brother, and Kenny Bailey, Champ and Boss' cousin, also signed with the Bulldogs.

"We've been very lucky over the past several years to have great student-athletes come through here," Charlton County coach Rich McWhorter said. …

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