Multiple former Cedartown Bulldogs will hit the gridiron this fall as college football players.
According to Cedartown High School Athletic Director Todd Tillery, there are 10 Cedartown products participating in football at the NCAA, NJCAA, and NAIA levels. Quan Neal, Trevon Wofford, Zahquan Frazier, Tony Mathis, Cade Smith, Kobe Pace, Taji Hudson, Chadriq Neal, Will Pilgrim, DJ Frazier, and Jayan Kent will all play college football this season.
Quan Neal will be a junior this Fall at Point University in West Point. Neal, a former running back and defensive back at CHS, primarily plays safety for the NAIA Point Skyhawks.
After primarily playing in a backup role as a freshman, Neal burst onto the scene last year with a fantastic sophomore campaign. Neal recorded 36 tackles, three interceptions, and one fumble recovery in 2019.
Last year he was honored with the Mid-South Conference Defensive Player of the Week award after he added two interceptions and three solo tackles in Point’s 24-6 victory over Bluefield College.
In his three years at Point University, Neal has tallied 82 tackles, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, one sack, and one special teams block. He is expected to be a defensive leader for the Skyhawks, who are coming off a 5-7 season last year.
Trevon Wofford, a junior quarterback at the University of Pikeville in Pikeville, Kentucky, is expected to be a major contributor for the Bears’ offense in 2020. Wofford played in seven games as a freshman in 2018, rushing for 312 yards and four touchdowns on 40 carries.
He passed for 227 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions as well, compiling a 59% completion percentage in a mostly reserve role. Trevon, who led the Bulldogs during their Region 5-4A runner-up season in 2017, had some slight struggles as a sophomore last year. He passed for 308 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions a season ago while completing only 17 of his 50 pass attempts.
Wofford continued to show strides in the running game, though, rushing for 177 yards and two touchdowns for the Bears. Coming off a 5-5 season as a member of the NAIA’s Mid-South Conference, UPike is expecting Wofford to receive valuable playing time as a junior in 2020.
A long and winding road has sent Zahquan Frazier to Coffeyville Community College, a NJCAA member institution in southeastern Kansas. Frazier was a two-sport phenom at Cedartown High School, and although he was a star basketball player, scouts felt he had the most potential on the football field.
The 6-foot-3 defensive back signed with FCS Southern Illinois University out of high school but spent only one year in Carbondale, Ill. As a member of the Salukis in 2019, Frazier recorded only one tackle. Zahquan transferred after only
one semester and is set to suit up as a member of the Coffeyville Red Ravens, which participate in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference.
Coffeyville is known for sending players to major Division I schools in conferences like the SEC, Big Ten, and Big XII. Frazier will look for playing time with Coffeyville this season.
Tony Mathis was a star tailback for head coach Doyle Kelley over his four years at CHS. He was the Region 5-4A Offensive Player of the Year in 2018 and rushed for nearly 2,100 yards and 50 touchdowns over his final two seasons. Mathis continued Cedartown’s “RBU” claim when he signed with West Virginia University in 2019.
As a freshman last year, Tony saw action in four games with the Mountaineers. His best effort came on Nov. 9 when he rushed for 14 yards on four carries and caught three passes for 16 yards against Texas Tech. Mathis scored his first collegiate touchdown that day when he trucked a defender at the goal line following a short reception.
Although West Virginia struggled with a 5-7 record last year, Tony is hoping to earn more opportunities as a redshirt freshman this season.
Although he never played football at Cedartown, Cade Smith was a member of the Bulldogs baseball team in 2019. He transferred to Cedartown from Cleburne County High School in Heflin, Alabama, where he was a standout as a linebacker and fullback.
Smith committed to play football at Division III LaGrange College where he was a freshman in 2019. Smith was mostly a backup in 2019 for the 3-7 Panthers. Cade played in six games recording seven total tackles and one tackle for loss. As a sophomore, the linebacker/halfback will likely be a solid contributor for the Panthers, who compete in the USA South Conference.
Kobe Pace was the highest-ranked player at Cedartown High School for the class of 2020. Pace, who played running back, linebacker and kick returner for the Bulldogs, was voted Two-Way Player of the Year (Ironman Award) in Region 5-4A a season ago.
After tallying 1,829 yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns as a senior, Pace was rated as a three-star prospect by 247Sports. He earned a full scholarship from Clemson University where he will play as a Tiger this Fall.
The second Division-I signee for Cedartown’s class of 2020 is quarterback Taji Hudson. After a great junior campaign, Hudson suffered a freak injury in the 2019 opener and was forced to miss his entire senior season. Taji had already committed to East Carolina University and, despite his injury, the Pirates honored his scholarship.
Thankfully, Hudson is expected to be back at full health in a matter of months. He will likely redshirt as a freshman in 2020 before competing for a starting role in 2021.
Will Pilgrim was the definition of an iron-man athlete at Cedartown High School. He was a hard-nosed defensive star and an anchor on the Bulldog offensive line. Pilgrim, who was also an outstanding track-and-field competitor, will play both sports at Division II Shorter University in Rome.
Chadriq Neal, DJ Frazier, and Jayan Kent will head to Division III Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana, this Fall. Neal starred as a linebacker and wide receiver for the Bulldogs over the last few seasons. Frazier, on the other hand, started in the defensive backfield and at receiver for Cedartown High School.
Along with being a No. 1 singles player in tennis, Kent was a dependable offensive and defensive lineman in his four years playing under Doyle Kelley. Each are multi-sport athletes that will add athleticism to a Panther football team which won the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference last season.