Six SCHS Student-Athletes Sign to Play in College

The six SCHS student-athletes sign Letters of Intent on National Signing Day Wednesday afternoon

Six Stephens County High School student-athletes sign on the dotted line to play college sports.

The high school held a signing ceremony Wednesday in the Tugaloo Center for the Performing Arts.

The six athletes signed their paperwork in front of family, friends, coaches, and classmates.

First, Abby Mulkey said she is excited to follow her older sister, Hannah, to Valdosta State to play soccer.

“When the (Valdosta State) coach first sent her (sister, Hannah) the e-mail offering her a spot, it was their first team and the e-mail was like ‘if you are up to the challenge, then I would like you to come and play for me’ and I told my sister that if that had been me, that is where I would have chosen to play,” said Mulkey. “So when she did sign to play there, I knew that is where I wanted to go as well and when the opportunity arose, I took it and ran with it.”

Mulkey said she will play defense on the field and wants to study nursing off of it. She added that before she heads to college, she is excited for her senior season at Stephens County coming up this spring.

Meanwhile, fellow spring sport athlete Ryan Cleveland signed with Georgia Southern to play baseball.

He said he chose Georgia Southern for a number of reasons.

“They have always had a good baseball program and I like it down there because it is not a real big college, but it is not super-small either,” said Cleveland. “I also have family close. That made it a good choice.”

Cleveland said he will play first base and study wildlife biology. First though is baseball season at Stephens County High School and Cleveland said he is looking forward to the season, adding that the Indian baseball team has been working hard to get ready.

Joining Cleveland at Georgia Southern will be Chaz Thornton, who signed with the school to play football next year.

Thornton said that Georgia Southern just felt like the right place for him.

“I had other offers, a couple of bigger schools, but when I went down there, I just fell in love with the environment, the fan base, the community, and the tradition too,” said Thornton.

Thornton said he is not sure yet what he wants to major in. On the field, he will play A-back in the Georgia Southern triple option offense.

Three other Indian football players also signed on Wednesday.

Luke Gibbs signed to play football at West Georgia.

He said he is very familiar with the Carrollton school.

“I like the area so I will be comfortable playing and know it and the academics are really growing as a school,” said Gibbs. “I will probably major in criminology. They have a good program.”

Gibbs said he will play safety at West Georgia and is excited to play in college after missing a large part of his senior season in high school to an injury.

Last but not least, twins Isaiah and Elijah Barnes will continue their football careers at the same school as both signed with Reinhardt University in Canton, Georgia.

Isaiah said he is excited to be part of the school’s new football team.

“The facilities are brand new,” said Isaiah. “Everything is brand new and really nice. The coaches are really nice and they are one-on-one with you and make sure you do your work doing the week. It just fit me well.”

Isaiah said he will play wide receiver and study history and education in order to be a history teacher.

Meanwhile, twin brother Elijah said he is also excited to be a part of a new football program.

Elijah added that it is also great that Reinhardt recruited both he and his brother so they could stay together.

“We have been together so long, so staying together was big,” said Elijah. “It is close to home too.”

Isaiah said it is also exciting to be able to play in college with his brother.

Prior to signing, coaches for each of the players introduced them and spoke of their accomplishments during their time at Stephens County.