College Athletic Scholarship Signings For 2020-2021- A Look Back
MADISON- The recent 2020-2021 school year featured success in all aspects of the four local high schools and those achievements were highlighted by the more than 70 student-athletes who signed some sort of athletic-academic scholarships. Bob Jones, James Clemens, Sparkman and Madison Academy each reveled in having signees to both major and community colleges throughout the United States.
The success of each of these student-athletes stems from years of dedication, sacrifice, hard work and support from family and friends. Every successful athlete juggled academics with athletics with many of them culminating with a triumph in both areas of a high school education.
The following is an official listing from each school of these students pursuing athletics at the next level:
The list of 21 signees for the Patriots is highlighted by two baseball players, Max Soliz, Jr. and Slate Alford, who joined schools in the Southeastern Conference and softball standout Aubrie Lisenby who chose to attend another SEC program in Auburn.
Soliz (6-5, 225), the Patriots starting catcher, chose to attend Arkansas, which is coming off a No. 1 national ranking to end the 2020 regular season and No. 1 seed in the College World Series. He finished his four years at Bob Jones tied for eighth on the all-time homeruns list after spanking 10 round trippers in 2021. He, along with Alford, were named to the First Team Rawlings-Perfect Game Southeast Region All-Americans.
Alford (6-2, 215) signed with No. 8 Mississippi State as a third baseman. He completed a remarkable career with the Patriots finishing first in walks, hits, games played and home runs in career marks. He also finished second in career RBIs, runs scored and doubles. Besides his All-American status, he was a nominee for Mr. Baseball in Alabama.
“I’ve had numerous interest from the professional ranks, but look forward to attending Arkansas where I plan on studying business,” said Soliz.
Alford added, “I did commit to Auburn, but I’m all in at Mississippi State and I see myself as one of the top guys in the Southeast.”
Lisenby ended her years at Bob Jones as the program’s all-time homerun queen. The 5-7, 140 catcher is geared to making the team at Auburn next season after starting softball at age six at Madison’s Palmer Park. “I plan on studying science, pre-med,” said Lisenby who finished her academics with a 4.34 grade point average.
The remaining signees from Bob Jones included: Brycen Hammonds-Alabama A&M (baseball), Ryan West-Coastal Alabama Brewton (baseball), Thomas Ballard-UAB (baseball), Taylor Troutt-North Alabama (soccer), Georgia White-UAB (soccer), Bailey Tatum-Wallace State (softball), Megan Shurtz-UAH (softball), Paola Selgado-Southern Union (volleyball), Joy Robinson-Albany State (volleyball), Tyler Pitts-South Alabama or UAH (track), Kristen Tigner-Alabama A&M (track), Collin Lee-Samford (football), Connor White-Aurora University (football), Drew Lawson-Southern Miss (football), Keyshawn Reynolds-Bethel University (football), Miles Humes-Kentucky State (football).
Also from Bob Jones were outstanding swimmers and fraternal twins Jake and Joe Palenapa. Both completed their years of swimming as team captains and chose to join the Air Force Academy.
A diverse range of colleges are part of the student-athletes from James Clemens as their choice of a higher education in 2020-2021. Madison’s youngest high school had 19 of its athletes sign college scholarships in eight different sports.
Micah Pettus received the lone major athletic college offer after he signed with the Ole Miss Rebels of the Southeastern Conference. The 6-7, 310-pound offensive tackle led the Jets to scoring over 31 points per game in the 2020 football season.
Cadence Huntsinger was a superb star with the school’s track program winning a state championship in the indoor triple jump and was an All-State performer in several events including the Heptathlon where she finished among the top five in the state.
Additional signees from the Jets’ programs included: Connor Legere-Cedarville University (baseball), Brady Davis-Birmingham Southern (basketball), Caleb Green-Birmingham-Southern (basketball), Tamia Yancey-Wallace State C.C. (basketball), Aaron Boone-William Penn (football), Ryan Creehan-Robert Morris University (football), D.J. Holden-Lindsey Wilson College, (football), Manny Sanders-Mars Hill (football), Chance Starling-New Mexico Military Institute (football), Brooks McKeller-Ohio University (golf), Abbey Patterson-North Alabama (soccer), Haley Patterson-Austin Peay (Soccer), Ashlyn Dougherty-Central Alabama C.C. (softball), Ariana Hill-Chattanooga State C.C. (softball), Emma Young-Calhoun C.C. (softball), Emma Mattingly-Trevecca Nazarene (cross country), Madison Rose-Shorter College (track).
One of the largest schools in Alabama had the largest signee contingency among the local schools out of the 2020-2021 class as the athletic program had 24 student-athletes sign scholarships to extend their sports skills. Tyeus Clemons chose to play football at Boston College, Tyler Vickery will attend Alabama as a cheerleader and Nick Sawyer will continue to play football while serving his country by signing with West Point.
For Sawyer, the 6-0, 165 quarterback and Senator senior captain signed on National Signing Day looked at signing with West Point as a way to better his adult life. “I always look at the final outcome and that light at the end of the tunnel,” said Sawyer. “The benefits I’ll be getting will be awesome and I know I’m ready to face the challenge.”
Clemons (6-4, 250) will play on the defensive line for Boston College after he posted 84 tackles for the Senators during the 2020 season. He looked at several schools, but the Eagles’ program looked to fit his needs the most.
Others within athletics at Sparkman to sign included: Bailey Abernathy-Martin Methodist (softball), Jordan Adkins-Tennessee Valley Prep (football), Cole Arsenault-Thomas Moore University (bowling), Emma Bailey-Calhoun C.C. (softball), A.J. Causey-Jacksonville State (baseball), Kylan Duncan-Alabama A&M (baseball), Jayla Fuller-LeMoyne Owens (basketball), Kellie Hovis-Samford (soccer), Bridget Johnson-Faulkner (basketball), Zahria Jones-Alabama A&M (softball), Hayden Ottum-Shelton State (cheerleading), Zora Paschel-UAB (volleyball), Stefanie Price-Birmingham-Southern (softball), Mikel Pryor-Calhoun C.C. (baseball), Caleb Ransaw-Troy University (football), Adrian Redus-Garden City C.C. (football), Stephen Richards-Faulkner (soccer), Garrett Telaga-Jacksonville State (baseball), Daylin Tolgo-Kentucky Wesleyan (bowling), KaRon White-Applachian State (football), Johnny Holloway- (track).
The smallest of the local schools also presented signings this school year. Madison Academy had seven student-athletes sign for college in athletics and were led by two-sport athlete Avery Seaton who signed with Alabama A&M.
Seaton will play both football and baseball with the Bulldogs. “Alabama A&M opened their arms for me at the school for both sports,” said Seaton (5-10, 200). “The school fits as I enjoy the campus and the environment and when they said I could play both sports I easily chose the school to continue my education.”
Additional members of the Mustangs’ athletic programs to sign included: Susanna Cruit-Motlow State (softball), Sequoia Adams-Faulkner (basketball), Liyah Nelson-Samford (track), Ryan Harness-Arizona Christian University (baseball), James Slaughter-Rust College (baseball), Justin Bradley-William Penn (Iowa) (basketball).
One athlete to note at Madison Academy was Chloe Frame who had several offers in both volleyball and tennis, but chose to forgo to continue to play athletics and chose to concentrate instead in academics.