Signing day is an opportunity for young athletes across the country to ink their futures with prospective schools. Some players are fortunate to sign to a university straight out of high school while others for various reasons have to take a more circuitous route to sign with a four-year school. Be it grades, a little trouble or just unfortunate circumstances – whatever the reason for going the junior college route, it is definitely a broadening experience.
Arizona Western College has a knack for getting players to the next level – NAIA, DIII, DII or DI – and this year’s early-signing day was no different, with a plethora of talent moving on to the next level, including:
· Bryce Perkins, University of Virginia
· Dominick Anderson and Jahmir Johnson, University of Tennessee
· Greg Bell III and Jaron Woodyard, University of Nebraska
· Azur Kamara, University of Kansas
· Roy Yancey, Southern Alabama University
· Luca Vartic, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
· Bo Alexander, University of Houston
· Mohamed Diallo, Texas A&M
· Ja'Vaun Johnson, University of Texas of the Permian Basin.
· Jack Colletto, Oregon State University
· Zack Bennett, Florida Atlantic University
· Tristan Nichols and Kevin Scott, University of Nevada
· Noah Jefferson, Ole Miss
“Being here in Yuma has helped me focus on football,” said Jahmir Johnson. “It’s tough being a student and an athlete while also dealing with the recruiting process and the constant recruiting pressure.”
Johnson also said that AWC football allowed him to reach out in the community and be more involved with people.
Besides Tennessee, a few suitors for Johnson’s talents were Missouri, Texas, Tennessee, USC, Nebraska, Utah, Ole Miss and Louisville.
Amazingly, Diallo, a Canadian, and only started playing football when he got to AWC. He was previously committed to Oregon but is going to Texas A&M because “A&M kept it real through the process,” telling him he could be a special player in the Southeastern Conference. Other schools in that region wanted him, too, including University of Alabama, Florida State University and Auburn University.
Still undecided is Mar’Quess Daniels, an upper-echelon JUCO linebacker who holds scholarship offers from Arkansas State University, Arizona State, University of Arizona, Temple University, Washington State University, Toledo University and University of Kansas.
“The recruiting process has been a journey that I’m thankful for,” said Daniels. Though the process started out slowly, many teams await his decision.
“AWC has done many great things for me,” he said. “It made me a leader brig here. It has been a humbling experience.”
Tony Mitchell, a defensive line coach at AWC for 10 years, has had a hand in sending a lot of talent to the next level.
“Universities see that our players have a winning mentality, and they hope that can translate to their programs,” Mitchell said. “It’s all the players; the best thing you can do is get out of their way. It’s different in every case, whether it’s refining some of their moves or even just coaching them up off the field.”
We finished off by asking how does the staff plan to have.
“Recruiting is a big key” to continued success on the field, said Mitchell. “Also, prospective athletes see that we get players to the next level, and they see the opportunities that Arizona Western has to offer.”
Photo courtesy of AWC Photo Services