Like many events in the time of COVID-19, last Wednesday’s National Signing Day was hardly a carbon copy of what usually takes place. But even though the gathering of friends and teammates was whittled down to coaches and close family members, it hardly took away from the significance of the day - that four Greyhounds are continuing their football careers on the next level by way of signing a national letter of intent.
Seated on an elevated platform in the school cafeteria, Matt Adams signed on with GMC Prep, Maleek Wooten with Tusculum, Deon Richardson with West Georgia and Andrew Carner to Valdosta State.
Of the three, Richardson had the biggest element of surprise, waiting until the event itself to unveil his decision, putting on a West Georgia hat in favor of those from Charleston Southern, Jackson State and Tennessee State.
Richardson led the Greyhounds in tackles this past season with 151, and his five sacks were second on the team.
“When I first went there, it felt like home, it really felt like it was a place with some people I could fit in and play with,” Richardson said of UWG. “I feel like I can make the team great, and they can help make me great.”
The Wolves compete in Division II’s Gulf South Conference and qualified for the national playoffs in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018.
Richardson won’t be the only Greyhound bound for a Division II powerhouse.
With Carner headed south to Valdosta State, he won’t just be playing for the four-time Division II national champions, he’ll also be playing for West Georgia’s fierce in-state rival. The Blazers most recently won a national title in 2018.
“It was a big deciding factor. Having a tradition of winning here, being able to go somewhere with a winning tradition as well, that means a lot to me,” Carner said. “The opportunity to play on Saturday, it’s something I have always dreamed about.”
Carner rushed for 1,705 yards as a senior for the Greyhounds and had 29 touchdowns.
In the case of offensive lineman Matt Adams, his friends and family won’t have to go too far to see him play for the Bulldogs with the campus being a short drive away in Milledgeville. It’s something that means a lot to Adams.
“That’ll be nice, to be able to come and eat mama’s dinner at night,” Adams said with a smile.
Being in a place of which he and the program can find success was an important factor for Wooten, whose 790 yards and ten touchdowns led JCHS this past season. Tusculum competes in the Division II South Atlanta Conference which also includes Catawba and Carson-Newman.
“I’m really excited. I just wanted to go somewhere that I know we can win and I can play,” Wooten said.