National Signing Day Tracker: Baldwin County football players sign with college teams

Top storylines from around the county as football signing period opens

By Cole McNanna
Sports Editor
Posted 2/1/23

Happy Signing Day! One of the biggest days of the high school football calendar, today marks the first day athletes can sign National Letters of Intent to join college football teams before the …

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National Signing Day Tracker: Baldwin County football players sign with college teams

Top storylines from around the county as football signing period opens


Happy Signing Day! One of the biggest days of the high school football calendar, today marks the first day athletes can sign National Letters of Intent to join college football teams before the cutoffs for Division I (April 1) and Division II (August 1).

Although some Baldwin County athletes have already signed with their college football teams, plenty more will do so throughout the day so this Signing Day Tracker will be updated as more football players sign. Stay tuned to Gulf Coast Media’s social media pages (@GCMSportsAL) for immediate updates.

Some of Wednesday’s signees who have already announced their college decisions include Baldwin County’s Ky McNulty (Troy), Daphne’s Cameron Long (Miles College), Elberta’s Cason White (Campbellsville), Gulf Shores’ J.R. Gardner (Alabama – preferred walk-on) and Orange Beach’s Cash Turner (South Alabama – preferred walk-on).

Elberta Warriors: Cason White – Campbellsville Tigers

Even in Campbellsville, Kansas, Elberta’s five-year starting center will have a Baldwin County connection in defensive line coach Forrest Garner, a Baldwin County High alum who helped recruit Cason White.

“Knowing it’s nine hours away, that’s a little bit of a long drive so just someone I can talk about home with and know what I’m talking about when I talk about it is just a nice relief,” White said. “I feel like we’re connected since we’re from the same place.”

When White gets to campus in the fall, he said he most looked forward to joining the team that welcomed him on his visit and working with them to win football games.

“Getting a brotherhood with everyone, meeting everyone and trying to bring the talent I have,” White said of what he’s most excited about. “I’ll try my best to bring it with everyone and just win some games, hopefully make a playoff run and maybe even win a ring.”

Baldwin County Tigers: Ky McNulty – Troy Trojans

The Tigers’ first-team all-county receiver cemented the commitment he made to the Troy Trojans earlier this summer. The three-star athlete had other offers from Georgia Southern, Louisiana-Monroe, Miami (OH), Southern Miss and Wake Forest.

McNulty will reunite with former Baldwin County football manager McKenzie Bryant, who currently serves as a student assistant with Troy’s inside linebackers.

Gulf Shores Dolphins: Brax Duncan – Belhaven Blazers; Brendon Byrd – Virginia Military Institute Keydets; J.R. Gardner – Alabama Crimson Tide (PWO); Nick Carris – Huntingdon Hawks; Tyler Schepker – Huntingdon Hawks

Five Dolphins signed National Letters of Intent at Gulf Shores High School to add another achievement to the senior class’s list following the school’s first 11-win season and two home playoff games.

Nick Carris and Tyler Schepker were set to join former teammate Charlie Hollis with the Huntingdon Hawks, Brax Duncan is taking his talents to Belhaven, Brendon Byrd signed with the Virginia Military Institute and J.R. Gardner accepted a preferred walk-on offer from the University of Alabama.

The Crimson Tide’s newest signee said he was informed of the offer by Dolphin offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield who caught Gardner while he was practicing guitar.

“I started playing ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ because that’s the song I’m learning right now, and our offensive coordinator Coach Edenfield calls me and tells me he wants to congratulate me on the PWO to Alabama, and I was like, ‘I don’t know if I heard that right,’” Gardner said.

It ended up coming at just the right time after he was told by the South Alabama Jaguars – another school that offered Gardner a preferred walk-on spot – that their running back room was full.

“As soon as he said, it I started shaking. It was unbelievable because it’s Alabama, I thought they were going to be so far out of my reach,” Gardner said. “I really didn’t have anywhere to go because I was going to South but they told me they didn’t have room for another running back so I didn’t really have anywhere to go then coach called me about ‘Bama so I knew where I was going at that point.”

Fairhope Pirates: Cory Devole – Belhaven Blazers; Lashavion Brown – Hutchinson Blue Dragons

A pair of first-team all-county players and key cogs in Fairhope’s defensive machine celebrated National Signing Day Wednesday as well. Lashavion Brown inked with Hutchinson Community College and Cory Devole cemented his pledge to Belhaven.

Devole led the way at linebacker with 102 total tackles between 67 solos and 35 assists for 11.3 tackles per game to go along with two sacks and a forced fumble. Brown collected 46 tackles and 28 assists for 74 total tackles, 6.7 per game, as well as four pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

St. Michael Catholic Cardinals: Clay Barr – Delta State Statesmen; Tyler Cella – Benedictine College Ravens

St. Michael’s two all-state linebackers will take their talents from the Eastern Shore to the next level. Clay Barr (second-team all-state) signed with Delta State and Tyler Cella (all-state honorable mention) is set to join the Benedictine Ravens.

In their senior seasons, Cella collected 98 total tackles with 6 tackles for a loss, 2 forced fumbles and an interception and Barr racked up 87 tackles with 14.5 tackles for a loss.

Orange Beach Makos: Cash Turner – South Alabama Jaguars (PWO)

Cash Turner had his childhood dream come true Wednesday when he inked his preferred walk-on offer from the South Alabama Jaguars.

“It’s awesome, I’ve always dreamed of going to play DI football in college and it’s happening,” Turner said.

Although he’ll enter as a PWO, Turner looked most forward to getting to campus to start balling out.

“I’ve got a little chip on my shoulder but I’m going to go up there and show them what I’ve got,” Turner said.

He earned his position by toiling in Orange Beach where he said he’s pleased to leave a positive legacy.

“I think I’m leaving behind a good legacy at the quarterback position and as a leader, really helping out the younger guys getting through the season,” Turner said.

All the while, he still managed to have fun with his friends playing the game he loves.

“It was a fun five years for me playing down here,” Turner said. “We’ve always had fun seasons with me and my boys so it was a good time.”

Spanish Fort Toros: Jacob Godfrey – New Mexico Lobos

The Toros’ AHSAA all-star receiver is headed out west after he racked up 1,475 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior.

Jacob Godfrey received an offer from former Spanish Fort head coach Bryant Vincent when he was interim head coach of the UAB Blazers. In the offseason, Vincent was named offensive coordinator of the New Mexico Lobos and now the Toro reunion will take place in Albuquerque.

Godfrey will have another familiar face on campus in Jeremiah Hixon, who graduated from Spanish Fort in 2018 and recently transferred to New Mexico after four seasons at Alabama State.

Snook Christian Eagles: Hayden Joiner – Faulkner Eagles

An integral part in reviving the Snook Christian football program, Hayden Joiner announced he’ll be taking his talents to Faulkner over nearly a dozen other offers.

After the Eagles made their first postseason in 2018, they didn’t have enough players to field a team the following year. However, Snook head football coach Keith Smith said it was Joiner and the Class of 2023 who helped bring the Eagle football squad back to life.

In his final regular-season home game, Joiner got the call to line up in the backfield and take a direct snap 1 yard into the end zone for his first career touchdown.

Foley Lions: AJ Prim – Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs; Cameron Schultz – Jones Bobcats; Harrison Knight – Jones Bobcats; Isaac Gamez – Birmingham Prep Cardinals; Reece Tynes – Independence Pirates; Tyler Hamby – Birmingham Prep Cardinals

Foley High School hosted a six-signee ceremony Wednesday where the Lions’ three all-stars and three all-county standouts penned their college commitments.

North-South All-Stars Cameron Schultz and AJ Prim found homes at Jones College and Mississippi Gulf Coast, respectively, and Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Harrison Knight is set to join Schultz at Jones.

All-county athlete Reece Tynes will look to quarterback the Independence Pirates while linebackers Isaac Gamez and Tyler Hamby will remain teammates at Birmingham Prep.

Of Tynes’ 2,377 passing yards, Knight caught 711 of those yards as well as eight of 21 passing touchdowns. Schultz and Prim were both forces in the trenches where Gamez and Hamby held things down in the second level to help Foley secure its first Class 7A Region 1 crown since 2007.

Daphne Trojans: Cameron Long – Miles College Bears; Jamarion Evans – NW Mississippi Rangers; Johnnie Perdue – West Florida Argonauts; Stacey Boykins – South Alabama Jaguars; Stephon Blackshear – Coffeyville Red Ravens

All five of Daphne’s Feb. 1 signees were also all-county honorees where Cameron Long and Jamarion Evans were first-teamers, Johnnie Perdue and Stephon Blackshear were named to the second team and Boykins was an all-county honorable mention.

Now, Perdue is set to join the defensive line of the West Florida Argonauts where his new defensive line coach shared his excitement over the signing on social media.

“Johnnie is a versatile defensive lineman that brings twitch and toughness to the game. The Alabama native compiled 17 sacks, 27 tackles for loss and 201 tackles in his career. We are excited to bring Johnnie into the Argo family,” Bo Alexander said.

Boykins will be joined by Orange Beach’s Cash Turner in taking his talents across the bay to South Alabama.