With three players from Cherokee High School signing letters of intent Wednesday, coach Josh Shaw was excited. The Warriors won just one game in 2012, but Shaw said that helping players reach the next level shows that the program is moving in the right direction.
Linemen Cody Parker and Tunde Ayinla were recognized at the event put on by the Cherokee County School District for their respective commitments to Berry College and Mercer University. Though he didn’t attend the signing event, lineman Nick Ragsdale also signed to play at Davidson College in North Carolina.
Parker said he initially didn’t have a strong enough ACT score to be admitted to Berry, but he worked hard to improve himself.
Parker will be part of the Vikings’ inaugural team, which will kick off in September as an NCAA Division III program.
“I saw the college and knew it was for me,” said Parker, who plans to major in psychology. “I worked really hard and finally got in. I’m really happy I got in.”
Parker said Shaw really helped him develop as a player.
“I’ve grown, matured a lot,” Parker said. “Overall, I have changed so much. I was the most improved player. I’m just proud of what I do.”
Also recognized at the county event Wednesday were Woodstock’s Trey Alexander (Air Force), River Ridge’s Vince Njoku (Lenoir-Rhyne) and Etowah’s Bryce Coroi (Valdosta State).
Alexander, who initially announced his decision to attend the Air Force Academy at the Cherokee County Gridiron Club’s annual banquet late last month, said it was a difficult decision for him because going to the academy is about more than just football.
“It’s a really big decision,” the linebacker said. “I didn’t have too many other offers, but the whole military aspect was different and I didn’t know how to handle it.”
Alexander said he became comfortable with the choice after visiting the campus in Colorado and talking with some of the current players.
“I pretty much knew it was something I could do after visit,” he said. “I talked to the freshmen, because that’s the worst year, and then talked to some upperclassmen, and it was good to hear what they had to say because they have been through it. They knew how to make it through and get everything they can out of it.”
Alexander doesn’t know if he will play during his freshman year, but he said that he will do everything he can to help his new team.
He never thought it would be signing to play football.
“I thought I’d be a basketball player,” Alexander said, “but that didn’t work out. So I started playing football. (Woodstock coach Brent Budde) got me into it and I just went from there.”