It was a very successful fall for Polk County athletes.
Cedartown and Rockmart each saw two athletes sign with major Division I colleges. For Cedartown, Taji Hudson signed to play football at East Carolina and Kobe Pryor inked to play football at Clemson. As for Rockmart, Deacon Allen signed the dotted line to play football at Akron while Ty Floyd signed to play baseball at LSU.
Taji Hudson, a two-year starter at quarterback for the Bulldogs, is headed to toss the pigskin in Greensboro, N.C. Hudson committed to ECU over the Summer after the Pirate coaching staff showed him nonstop interest during his recruitment. After his brutal injury against Rockmart in August, East Carolina proved their loyalty to him by honoring his scholarship and upholding their commitment to making him a member of the ECU football team.
Kobe Pryor was a man amongst boys in Region 5-4A. After spending multiple seasons alongside Tony Mathis in the backfield, Pryor was given the opportunity to run the show in 2019. This decision paid off for the Cedartown program, as the senior ripped off 1,471 rushing yards in his 2019 campaign. The Tigers landed Pryor over many other suitors and are getting one of the most talented running backs in the state of Georgia.
Deacon Allen committed to Akron back in August and never wavered on his pledge. 6-1 320-pound offensive and defensive lineman plowed the way for one of the best rushing attacks in the state of Georgia over the past two seasons but instead will solely play defensive line for the Zips. Head Coach Tom Arth stated that he was very excited about what Allen brings to the table; following an 0-12 season for Akron in 2019, Allen should have every possible opportunity to start early for the Zips.
Ty Floyd has long been considered one of the premier pitching prospects in the southeast. According to Perfect Game, Floyd is the no. 2 prospect (and no. 1 right-handed pitcher) in Georgia for the Class of 2020 and is the no. 31 overall player in the nation. He committed to Louisiana State in October 2018 and has remained a loyal member of their 2020 recruiting class. Paul Mainieri’s LSU Tigers are always one of the best squads in the SEC; barring a MLB Draft decision for Ty, the Rockmart ace appears to be set to become a SEC legend in Baton Rouge.
There’s been some other high profile signings for local talent throughout the year and not just in the latter half.
For the Bulldogs baseball squad, Easton Oxenrider gets the chance to play at the next level after he committed to play with Shorter back in November. He’ll join a Hawks squad with a lot of familiar names in Polk County who started as freshmen this past fall.
Mason Watson announced his intention to play with Freed-Hardeman University’s baseball team on Dec. 12. Former Jackets baseball players who also went off to play at the collegiate level included Griffin Pace who is going to play with Life University, Dylan Bailey with Jacksonville State, Logan Shelton with SGSU, and Jonathan Suppes and Luke Queen both playing together at Shorter University in Rome.
The Jackets tennis squads also sent talent off to play at the next level. Rockmart graduates Tim Malone and Hunter England joined the Shorter Hawks men’s tennis team in signings last March. That came ahead of the squad’s run to a state title win in 2019.
One of Rockmart’s soccer squad also made it to the collegiate level in 2019. Andrea Ridgeway signed with Shorter University to play with the Lady Hawks back in May and started this past fall.
The state runner up squad in Rockmart also sent players off to the next level in 2019. Those included Ant Lester, Noah Hughes, Donte Williams, Markus Smith, Tyler Abram and Ohigee Swinger.
Lester and Swinger went onward to play at Arkansas Baptist, and Williams and Abram went onward to Highlands College in Kansas. Smith went onto Lenoir-Rhyne University in 2019. Hughes ended up at Reinhardt University.
Across the county in Cedartown, several big names also got opportunities to play at the next level. Cade Smith joined LaGrange College’s football squad after his graduation last May. Also a high profile name who ended up in the midwest showed his talent through the fall months.
Zahquan Frazier signed with Southern Illinois after his senior season in February. Former running back Tony Mathis also went off to West Virginia after his late year signing with the Mountaineers, but spent a good portion of the season sidelined by injury before he had the opportunity to play.
Elijah Pace is also of note for getting a cross country scholarship this past spring with Point University, where he began his studies this past fall.
Lady Bulldog Grayson Smith became a member of the Wolfpack at the University of West Georgia this past fall after she ended her career on the Cedartown cheer squad with the Class of 2019.
Also of note is one local talent playing for Darlington heading to school in 2020.
Caroline Dingler is going to play for Division I Bucknell University next fall after her November signing.