Published Wednesday, February 06, 2013

National Signing Day: Impressive list of Coweta seniors to sign today

By CHRIS GOLTERMANN

cgoltermann@newnan.com

Much of today’s National Signing Day will be somewhat anticlimactic.

But that won’t stop more than a dozen high school seniors from making this year’s class one of the most impressive in recent memory within Coweta County.

Regardless, inking the dotted line on an athletic scholarship always seems to come with a smile. And today will be no different.

Led by seven Division I football signees among five county high schools, this year’s group of seniors is one of the deepest following a 2012 season in which all six of Coweta’s teams made the postseason.

While their stories are unique, their success wasn’t. The group includes two standouts — Newnan safety/wide receiver Tray Matthews and Northgate defensive tackle DeAndre “Moose” Johnson — that will be part of Mark Richt’s newest recruiting class at the University of Georgia.

The two will be reunited after playing together at Madras Middle School. Matthews, who earned Region 3-AAAAAA and The Newnan Times-Herald most valuable player honors while helping lead the Cougars to a 9-3 season, enrolled in Athens in January.

Johnson is expected to join Matthews — one of eight Newnan football players expected to sign scholarships today — at Georgia by this summer.

Northgate has three Division I football signees today in one of its most prestigious recruiting classes ever. Senior receiver/defensive back Brandon Facyson, who is already on campus at Virginia Tech, will officially become part of the Hokies’ program after graduating in December.

Joining the duo among signing classes nationally is Vikings defensive end Sean Spencer, who had verbally committed to Navy. He will join older siblings Greg (Army, football) and Kelly (Air Force, volleyball) among family members to play college athletics for the service academies.

Trinity Christian’s Drew Gibson, who graduated last month, continues a growing list of Coweta’s standout athletes heading to the Air Force Academy.

Despite missing the entire 2011 season while recovering from the effects of Guillain Barre Syndrome, Gibson returned to full strength in time to help lead the Lions to their first playoff appearance since moving to GISA football.

Gibson joins Alex Lakes (Northgate) and Lendell Arnold (Newnan) among local athletes who have signed with Air Force over the last three years. Both played on last year’s prep team in the Falcons’ program.

Both Gibson and Heritage School senior Candler Rich capped off impressive final varsity years with All-State selections as teammates in the GISA All-Star football game, leading the North to victory.

Rich, who was pursued by several schools much like the way defenders chased him on the field during the Hawks’ run to the Class AAA State Championship Game, is expected to sign with Yale today.

He leaves Heritage School's seven-year program as its statistical leader in nearly every major category after finishing with over 6,000-yards rushing for his career.

Rich led the Hawks during a school-best 11-2 season with 3,064 total yards and 37 touchdowns including a pair among his eight interceptions while being named Most Valuable Player of Times-Herald’s “Small County” Football Team.

East Coweta senior Dee Godfrey equally led the Indians in rushing en route to Region 3-AAAAAA and Times-Herald All-County Offensive Player of the Year honors during another state-playoff year in Sharpsburg. After rushing for 1,180 yards and 18 touchdowns last fall, Godfrey is expected to sign with Georgia Southern, which is coming off a trip to the FCS semifinals in 2012.

Matthews is among eight Newnan football players expecting to sign today. They include offensive lineman David Raschen (Mercer) and Jamal Carlisle (Reinhardt). Lineman

Xavier Phillips will sign with the University of the Cumberlands while four teammates — safety Darrell Morrow, receiver Traon Moss, linebacker Maurice White and running back Quinton Dix expect to be among West Georgia Tech’s first class of signees since announcing the addition of a NJCAA football program, only the second in the state.

Football, however, won’t be the only sport involved on National Signing Day within the county.

East Coweta will have senior soccer siblings Ian and Conner Antley sign with Mercer University. Also signing from the Indians’ — who are ranked No. 10 in Class AAAAAA to start the 2013 season — is goalkeeper Luke Oesterle with Georgia State.

Three more East Coweta baseball seniors are also signing today. They include pitcher Brandon Ruston (Reinhardt), infielder/pitcher Zach McCurry (Darton) and infielder Jonathan Banks (Kennesaw State).

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