County’s FBS-bound group sign their futures
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
February 02, 2012 01:32 AM | 5629 views | 12 12 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb County claimed another healthy contingent of Football Bowl Subdivision signees Wednesday with a list that includes, from left, Hillgrove’s Kenyan Drake, McEachern’s Darius English and Kofi Amichia, Walton’s Zack and Daron Blaylock, McEachern’s Nick St. Germain, Lassiter’s Kenny Orjioke, Pebblebrook’s Khalid Henderson, McEachern’s Amba Etta-Tawo and North Cobb’s Martez Hester.
<bR>Staff photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
Cobb County claimed another healthy contingent of Football Bowl Subdivision signees Wednesday with a list that includes, from left, Hillgrove’s Kenyan Drake, McEachern’s Darius English and Kofi Amichia, Walton’s Zack and Daron Blaylock, McEachern’s Nick St. Germain, Lassiter’s Kenny Orjioke, Pebblebrook’s Khalid Henderson, McEachern’s Amba Etta-Tawo and North Cobb’s Martez Hester.
Staff photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
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MARIETTA — Three straight 10-win seasons gave McEachern one of its biggest signing day classes in recent memory, and Walton’s march to the state championship game produced another large group of signees as Cobb County’s top football players signed their letters of intent on National Signing Day.

McEachern’s signing class of 10 players included four — Kofi Amichia, Amba Etta-Tawo, Nick St. Germain and Darius English — who are headed to Football Bowl Subdivision programs, while Walton’s group of nine included Kentucky-bound brothers Daron and Zack Blaylock.

Also signed to FBS schools Wednesday were Lassiter teammates Niles Clark, Charlie Hegedus and Kenny Orjioke, North Cobb’s Darius Conoway and Martez Hester, Hillgrove’s Kenyan Drake, Osborne’s Nyiakki Height and Pebblebrook’s Khalid Henderson.

“I’ve been thinking about this moment since I first put on football pads,” said Etta-Tawo, who is expected to play wide receiver at Maryland. “This means a lot. I’m looking to go there and have a chance to play early. There style of offense suits me, so I’m really excited.”

Etta-Tawo became the second member of his family to sign with an Atlantic Coast Conference team. His older brother, Etta, signed with Clemson in the spring of 2005, though a heart abnormality forced him to give up football.

English, a defensive end, and St. Germain, a kicker, each signed with South Carolina, where they will join their former McEachern teammates — and 2011 Gamecock signees — Rory Anderson and Marcquis Roberts.

“It was really difficult to choose between multiple Southeastern Conference schools,” said the 6-6, 225-pound defensive end. “The SEC is the best conference in college for football, and having those guys already there was a big influence because now I’ll know someone there that can help me out with things.”

Amichia, a 6-4, 261-pound offensive lineman, received offers from Cincinnati, Southern Mississippi and Central Florida before deciding to go to South Florida.

“I don’t know how to swim, but I’ll definitely go to the beach a few times and see the attractions,” Amichia said of the Tampa-based school.

The Blaylock brothers picked Kentucky to extend their playing careers because, as Zack put it, “We’ve always been together and we think we work well together.”

The Blaylocks will be followed to Lexington by Henderson, who originally chose Tennessee but decommitted early last month. The linebacker told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the time that Vols coach Derek Dooley was noncommittal on whether he would fulfill his offer to Henderson.

“It’s been hectic,” Henderson said Wednesday. “I had to get back into (recruiting) after decommitting and had to narrow down my choices again. I’m excited to get to Kentucky’s campus early and start working.”

Also staying together will be North Cobb teammates Hester and Conoway when they enroll at Ball State.

For Hester, the decision to sign with the Cardinals was largely because of the Muncie, Ind., campus’ proximity to extended family.

“It is in Indiana, and I know it’s cold up there, but my grandparents live in Michigan, so it will be easy for them to come see me play,” he said.

Height, Osborne’s lone college signee, will be playing for a different coach than the one who recruited him — Neil Callaway was fired after the season — but that didn’t deter him from staying with the Blazers.

“I always said that, when I make my commitment, I’ll stay with it,” Height said. “I really liked the academic programs at the school. I want to major in sports medicine and they have one of the best programs around for that, so it fit me.”

Orjioke hadn’t played a full season of football until he enrolled at Lassiter before the 2011 season. The Nigerian-born defensive back moved to Cobb County from Los Angeles and got noticed almost on the spot when he began playing for the Trojans.

Ultimately, Orjioke had “20-plus” scholarship offers by the end of the season, and now he will have the chance for a homecoming after signing with UCLA and first-year Bruins coach Jim Mora Jr.

Orjioke’s two Lassiter teammates, Clark and Hegedus, both signed with North Carolina State on Wednesday.

While many of the county’s football recruits went through the whirlwind recruiting process, Drake made his decision nearly a year ago. The 6-1, 198-pound running back committed to Alabama on Feb. 14, 2011, and never looked back.

Drake was one of 26 signees for a Crimson Tide team that is restocking after winning its second BCS championship in three years.

“Coming off that national championship, I felt like I was on that team,” Drake said, “It was special to see them win because that’s where I’m headed.”
Comments
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Really2012
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February 07, 2012
To Get Real, I know how the system works, I dont think u do, as long as u have a job and can sleep peacefully at night, thats important and for those who have commented on this issue, its not just a Cobb County issue, it is happening at alot of other schools as well but for those coaches who help those players get to the next level, I salute you and for those coaches who dont shame on you! Parents u do have a voice!
Get Real
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February 07, 2012
You may be right. I think everybody should play college football. As soon as you get done playing your sr. year you should be able to tell your HS coach that you want to play in college and then you should be recruited by everyone that you want. Then your coach can tell people how great you are. That makes perfect sense, so now there is no accountability and nobody gets their feelings hurt. (this lastest post contains sarcasm)
Scholarships
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February 06, 2012
So having 4 kids sign scholarships is no longer an acceptable number, I don't understand. Hillgrove had 4 sign and would have had one more but the school withdrew offer and he will end up playing somewhere. They had 10 seniors that started this year, so I the number is good. Last year they had atleast 5 sign and two went FBS. Grayson only had 8 this year and they won the State Championship. Why don't we quit trashing coaches on these post an start supporting the programs in the county and the great coaches we have.
Hillgrove players
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February 06, 2012
I am not sure where these comments even come from. The Hillgrove coach is not even mentioned in this article. Hillgrove has has numerous kids sign college scholarships each year and the coach does a great job of contacting colleges and has lots of college coaches come thru during spring practice and during the season for visits. He had several kids a year ago offered that did not wish to play college football. Not to mention, when is the primary goal to go play college football, shouldnt the primary goal be to build young men of character who are productive members of society as they continue their education in college.
Really2012
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February 06, 2012
Get Real, its obvious u dont't know to much because its alot of players that are not that athletic get scholarships, thats why Stephenson's Coach is such a great coach,he is an advocate for his players, he knows it is more then just championships, its about the future of young men, its about developing that relationship with college recruiters, which the coach from Hillgrove has not done, its a shame, parents hold him accountable.
Get Real
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February 07, 2012
Your quote "its alot of players that are not that athletic get scholarships"... that makes perfect sense. It seems that the goal of every college during the recruiting process is to find guys that are not athletic so they can give them a free education.
Really2012
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February 02, 2012
Shame on the Head Football Coach from Hillgrove. As a coach your greatest joy should come from every senior player that played under you get a scholarship. Parents hold him accountable!
Totally agreed
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February 04, 2012
It is sad because a lot of those boys work hard. He only plays certain kids and there are many benched that are good. That is why they have lost some players. It is very political.
Just saying....
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February 05, 2012
15 football players from MHS signed....we love our coaching staff and how they love our boys!
Get real
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February 06, 2012
Do not blame the coach because college coaches won't sign your kids. Hillgrove has a good Head Coach, quit blaming other people for your kids lack of athleticism.
To get real
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February 06, 2012
Only signing 4 kids from a Division titled team is not a good sign. Part of the coaching staff's job should be to promote and get scholarships to as many players as possible. The other top schools had many more players being signed and that is how it should be at every school. It has nothing to do with whether the parents feel thier kids are athletic enough. Obvously, there are more than 4 kids who shoyld be signed every year. Apparently your coach does not feel it is part of his job and that is sad.
Get Real
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February 07, 2012
What is it that you expect the head coach to do? He is the HIGH SCHOOL coach, not the COLLEGE coach, he has nothing to do with scholarships. He can send out film and talk to coaches but he can't wave a magic wand and get everybody a scholarship. Please make sure you understand how the system works before you come on here and bad mouth somebody. I'm sure you son will have a long and wonderful career bagging groceries or making milk shakes.
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