Army swoops in late to ink Brookwood trio

It initially didn't look like Army would sign a single Brookwood football player on Wednesday. But one offer to Josh Jackson quickly brought a recruiting haul for the military academy in Snellville.

Army had been in contact with Jackson, a senior wide receiver/defensive back, in late December and early March, but didn't make an offer until last week. At the time, Jackson was a Charleston Southern commitment.

"I thought about it for two hard days," Jackson said. "As much as it was hard for me to decommit from somewhere, it was what I had to do for my educational purposes and for the opportunities I'll have after college."

Jackson wanted to share the Army education with two of his best friends, Brookwood seniors A.J. and Jarrett Mackey, brothers who play offensive line and tight end, respectively. With that in mind, he talked up the Mackeys to the Army coaches and soon three Broncos had Army offers.

All three accepted and signed letters of intent of Wednesday's National Signing Day.

"After they offered me, I starting talking to them about A.J. and Jarrett," Jackson said. "I was trying to get my brothers somewhere. They were headed somewhere (the Mackeys planned on attending North Carolina school Lenoir-Rhyne) but I wanted them to be more comfortable and just help them out a little bit. They got their films and loved them as well, so they got the whole package.

"It's great. My first year of playing football was sixth grade and I've been playing with those two ever since. We've been brothers for so long."

Buford's Hunter, Pridemore get late calls

Maybe it's because they are two of the top high school players in the country. Or the fact that both of them decommitted late in the recruiting process.

Whatever it was, Buford's Omar Hunter and T.J. Pridemore were still getting hounded by college coaches the night before National Signing Day.

"I heard from a few coaches last night say, 'Are you sure that's where you want to go,?'" said Pridemore, who signed with Florida. "I heard a good bit from Coach (Urban) Meyer saying 'You better be coming here.' It's been a fun process. It's been sort of crazy from last night to this morning."

Pridemore originally committed to Georgia Tech, but after head coach Chan Gailey was fired he was unsure about his future with the Yellow Jackets. Pridemore, the son of former Atlanta Falcon Tom Pridemore, decommitted and chose Florida over the Georgia Tech.

Pridemore estimates he had at least 10-15 calls from coaches Tuesday night. The linebacker graduated from Buford in December and plans to enroll at Florida in early May.

Hunter felt a big sigh of relief once he was able to sign with Florida on Wednesday morning.

"It feels great. I can get to work now and get focused on what I need to do to get ready to play at Florida," said Hunter, who said he had at least 25 calls Tuesday night. "Last night was the worst it's ever been."

Hunter originally committed to Notre Dame in the summer, but had a change of heart after the season. One of the top defensive tackles in the country, Hunter was hot on the recruiting scene for the last month and was constantly getting calls from coaches.

"Just get it all done with. No more phone calls, no one bugging me, I'm just glad to have it over with," Hunter said.

Hunter said he plans to join the Gators on June 1.

Big season translates to D-I scholarship

Major college coaches knew about Hunter and Pridemore coming into the season, but the biggest surprise of Buford's signing class was Melvin Harris.

A 6-foot-6 wide receiver, Harris didn't get a lot of catches his junior year in Buford's run-oriented offense.

The senior, who signed with Ole Miss on Wednesday, had a breakout season in 2007, catching 30 passes for 662 yards and eight touchdowns.

The result - a scholarship to a major Division I program.

"That was my goal from the beginning. Just come in and work hard and earn a scholarship really," Harris said.

"It's great. I can't believe Houston Nutt is actually going to be my head coach. Me and him have a great bond and I just felt at home when I went up there. It's great to be in the SEC. Me and Omar, we are going to play each other in about the fifth game of the season."

Florida and Ole Miss are scheduled to play Sept. 27 in Gainesville, Fla.

Mustangs go 8-for-8

The Meadowcreek football team hasn't had a lot to cheer about in recent years. On Wednesday in the school's auditorium, the Mustangs' seniors got plenty of applause for their hard work on the field and in the classroom.

Meadowcreek turned out another impressive signing class as all eight seniors signed scholarships.

"It's real nice, we're all going somewhere," said linebacker Tim Bennett, the sharpest dressed of the group in his light brown suit. "It's good to know it doesn't end here. We didn't win any games, but we're still going somewhere and can make something out of it - have a career and get a degree in college."

Since head coach Reggie Perry took over in the program in 2005, the Mustangs have had 26 players sign on National Signing Day.

"He's a hard worker. He really cares about his players, he loves his players," Bennett said. "That's his life - his players."

Bennett is headed to The Apprentice College (Va.), Justin Morris, Mychael Ammons and Chadd Thomas signed with Union College (Ky.), DaRonte Smith is headed to Reedley College (Calif.), Rashad Rivers is going to the University of Cumberlands (Ky.) and Jeremy Pryor and Kevrett Brown inked with Concord University (W.Va.), Perry's alma mater.

"It's exciting for the parents and the kids. Our success on the field is going to come when it comes," Perry said. "I felt like I've been blessed to have a master's degree, I've got to give some kids that opportunity as well."

Football in the Bronx

People should really know about Fordham football. After all, Vince Lombardi went there.

But like many of the Northeast's storied programs, Fordham's location in the Bronx borough of New York City doesn't facilitate large stadiums or rabid fan bases.

But it's still good football - it won the Patriot League last season - and Wesleyan's Josh Johnson is now a part of it.

"It was formerly a big football power," Johnson said at Wesleyan's signing day party, where he had just ripped the tags off a white Fordham hat. "I had never heard of it until they called in late November."

The stadium is on the old campus and holds about 10,000 people, but Johnson's interest extends past the school's football history and the gothic buildings.

"It was academics (that drew me to Fordham)," Johnson said, "that, and the football."

Wesleyan rivals

Johnson and Samir Tejpaul sat close during Wesleyan's signing day party Wednesday. They posed for pictures with each other and with their teammates.

The two should enjoy it. Come this fall, they will be rivals.

Johnson's Fordham team and Tejpaul's Georgetown team both play in the Patriot League and the two meet every year.

"I joke about it, that we are going to be rivals next year," Johnson said.

More than rivals. Johnson will play offensive tackle for the Rams and Tejpaul will play linebacker at the Washington, D.C., school. They will be more than just on opposite teams, they'll be matched up head to head.

"It'll be pretty neat, we have been playing with each other since eighth grade and are best friends," Tejpaul said.

Rennie returns

Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran, who just completed a standout freshman season at Georgia, was back at his alma mater Brookwood on Wednesday for the celebration.

Curran drew one of the biggest signing day crowds in school history because of his popularity last year, but he was even more of a celebrity this year. That's what a year as a Bulldog will do for you.

"I posed for more pictures this year, definitely," Curran said.

Curran didn't have any UGA signees from his alma mater, but longtime Bronco assistant Tom Jones was bragging about one headed to his college alma mater - Wake Forest. Senior Terence Davis signed with the Demon Deacons, the first Brookwood player to pick the ACC school.

"I finally got a Deacon," said Jones, a former Wake Forest offensive lineman whose sons played at Furman and South Carolina.

Brookwood had seven signees on Wednesday, six headed to I-A schools. One of the most surprising was running back Kenny Miles, who didn't have a single offer before the season but wound up signing with South Carolina after earning county player of the year honors as a senior.

"If you work hard at it, pray about it, keep God first, anything can happen," Miles said of his rise. "I'm an example of that. You can come out here and nobody knows your name before the season, and then something like this can happen."

Big day for Wolves

Buford didn't have a pep rally all season for its football team. After the Wolves won the state championship, they didn't celebrate on the field due to the heavy rain.

During Wednesday's signing day ceremony they were able to do both. Buford had the entire school in the gym as nine football players signed scholarships and the football team was officially awarded the state championship trophy.

Grayson debuts field house

Grayson had already held the official opening ceremonies for its new field house.

However, Wednesday's signing day ceremony for the Rams' largest signing class was the first official function to take place inside it.

"We did the ribbon-cutting ceremony about two weeks ago," Grayson coach Mickey Conn said. "But this was the first thing we've really done in it. It's a pretty good way to christen the (team) room.

"We're still decorating a few things, but it's pretty much done."

Sports editor Will Hammock and staff writers Brandon Brigman, Ben Beitzel and David Friedlander contributed to this report.