Despite signing-day hype, high school athletes have time to choose


South Columbus' Pharoah McKever will sign with N.C. State for football after being committed for almost a year. (Photo by StarNews file photo)


Local high school athletes in football, soccer and track are signing collegiate national letters of intent on Wednesday, as the official signing period for those sports begins.

For the three biggest football recruits in the area, it's a long-anticipated final act of the recruiting process. Others will be anxiously hoping to make a similar decision in the coming weeks.

South Columbus' Pharoah McKever will sign with N.C. State for football after being committed for almost a year. McKever held with the Wolfpack through the tumultuous firing of head coach Tom O'Brien after the 2012 season. McKever is listed as a three-star recruit with the versatility to play both offense and defense.

"I'm glad that he's got the opportunity," South Columbus coach Jake Fonvielle said. "A kid like that deserves it and he'll make the most of it."

McKever isn't the only recruit signing after a lengthy process. Laney's Larry Williams verbally committed to ECU before the 2012 season. Williams is a two-way lineman recruited as an offensive guard for the Pirates.

Williams is one of three local players scheduled to sign with the Pirates, including a pair of wide receivers from New Hanover. Trevon Brown, the school's all-time leader in receiving yards, committed earlier in January. Jacen Murphy, the team's second-leading receiver, joins Brown as a preferred walk-on at ECU. New Hanover linebacker Caleb Fuller is headed to Appalachian State as a preferred walk-on as well.

Three Ashley boys soccer players will also sign letters of intent: Gary O'Neill with UNCW, Justin Savinon with UNC-Charlotte and Daniel Harris with Lees-McCrae.

For those putting a name on a line, it will be a happy day. But the majority of athletes looking to play sports in college will twiddle their thumbs on Wednesday and hope for some good news in the coming months.

Even New Hanover, sending three players to Division I schools, still has plenty of players waiting for the right opportunity.

"We'll have some other guys," New Hanover coach Kevin Motsinger said. "I know several of those guys are going to go to some smaller schools."

Feb. 6 is just the first day of the signing period, which runs until April 1 for football, track and soccer. Colleges who missed out on high-level recruits work down the list of players, and that effect trickles down.

"We‘ve got a few that are going to be, waiting to see and then, you know, going from there," Fonvielle said. "It's just special for all of them. Some of them it's a little easier to rise and some it's a little harder."

SIGN HERE, PLEASE

The first day of the spring signing period is Wednesday for football, soccer and track, and several local student-athletes are involved. Here are the local athletes we know of who will be holding events for their signings. Check the Varsity Now blog at StarNewsVarsity.com for updates as athletes continue to sign in the coming months.



Ashley: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, school media center

Justin Savinon – UNCC Soccer

Gary O’Neill – UNCW Soccer

Daniel Harris – Lees-McCrae Soccer

Brian Lancaster – Shorter (Ga.) College Track

Hoggard: 3 p.m. Wednesday, school library

Jackson David – ECU Track

Kelsey Hamm – Vassar Soccer

Sheldon Cooper – Iowa Central Community College Football

James Kenan

Reginald Tyler – N.C. A&T Football

Laney: 2 p.m., school cafeteria

Kelli Gottry – Queens Soccer

R.J. Pearsall – Elon Football

Larry Williams – East Carolina Football

New Hanover: 2 p.m. in Brogden Hall lobby

Trevon Brown – East Carolina Football

Jacen Murphy – East Carolina football

Caleb Fuller – Appalachian State Football

Niza Vera – Mt. Olive Women’s Soccer

Jianela Rincon – High Point Lacrosse

Ashley Hunter – Western Carolina soccer

South Columbus

Pharoah McKever – N.C. State  Football

Union: 10 a.m.

Justin Smith - N.C. A&T - Football

West Brunswick: 10 a.m. at school

Phillip Gause - UNC-Pembroke - Football