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Prep recruits savor the day as they choose schools
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Screven County's Jermany Hawkins is joined by family as he signs his letter of intent to play football at Georgia Southern next fall. - photo by HORACE HOLLOMAN/staff

    For many, national signing day is a chance to see what new additions will bolster their favorite college team. However, for some, national signing day is the culmination of a lifelong commitment.
    Wednesday, many athletes across the state of Georgia signed their name on the dotted line to move on to the next phase in their career.
    “It’s one thing to talk the talk, but not many are willing to walk the walk and put in the work it takes to get here,” said Statesboro head football coach Steve Pennington during a signing event at the school’s media center. “These guys followed through and talked the talk with their vision and walked the walk.”
    Statesboro had three football players continue a playing career at the next level (Samad Foster, Ryan Miller and Jalen Davis).
    Alex Wagner (soccer) and Braxton Johns (baseball) also signed letters of intent for Statesboro.
    Southeast Bulloch’s L. A. Anderson (soccer) also signed a letter of intent to further his athletic career.
    The day was filled with mixed emotions and for many, overwhelming joy.
    “It feels like Christmas day when I was younger,” said Foster, smiling after signing his letter of intent. “It just feels really good.”
    It was a good day for Georgia Southern University’s football program as well. The Eagles added 27 players to the roster—including Screven County’s Jermany Hawkins.
    Hawkins, along with a large group of family members, were all smiles for his big day.
    “It’s very emotional. I worked really hard. All the coaches are cool and funny and show a real spunk about themselves,” Hawkins said. “It’s an honor for me and my family. My family will be able to support me no matter where I go.”
    In his senior year, Hawkins averaged 8.3 tackles per game from the linebacker position. The 5-foot-11 running back also rushed for 584 yards in the season. Not bad for a running back going to the Nation’s leading team in rushing.
    “This is not the end. This is just the beginning of the next chapter. Just because you sign doesn’t mean it’s over. We have work to do and when you get there you have to represent Screven County. Our reputation is on the line for future colleges to come and recruit our kids. Carry us with you,” said Screven County head football coach Ron Duncan.
    SCHS’ Eric Hayward also continued his athletic career, choosing to commit to playing at Hutchinson Community College.
    Duncan said assistant football coach Chris Pye sent out nearly 2,000 emails last year to help get SCHS players signed to the next level.
    “You need to understand, it’s a lot more than just athletic ability to get you a scholarship,” Duncan said. “We’re certainly honored.”