Cavs will continue on diamond, gridiron
It might not be an official designation, such as National Signing Day each February, but Cavalier Signing Period continued on Wednesday in Southern Lee's library with the Cavs celebrating seniors five and six signing college athletic offers within the last two weeks.
Derek Jackson accepted a baseball scholarship from North Carolina A&T and Freddy McCollum, while a teammate with Jackson on the diamond, signed to play football at Wingate University as a preferred walk-on.
"It means a whole lot. It means a lot to my family and they're pretty much the number one thing that's gotten me here," said McCollum, who along with being the Cavalier center fielder has also been a star forward/midfielder for the Cavalier soccer program for the last four years.
"They've supported my every single day and always taught me to give 110 percent with anything I do," McCollum said.
"They're really proud," Jackson said about his family. "When I verbally committed, my mom started crying right there.
"My family means everything to me and they're my biggest supporters by far," Jackson said.
The Aggies recruited Jackson as a pitcher. On the mound this season, Jackson is 7-2 with two saves, a 1.58 ERA and four complete games. At the plate, he's hitting .361 with eight extra-base hits, 24 runs and 14 RBI.
McCollum's baseball stats are excellent as well, as he's hitting .297 and scored 25 runs, typically from the second spot in the Cavalier order. He'll be going from a three-sport athlete to one sport, which is actually his newest sport.
"I started football here my sophomore year, so it was kind of a surprise when I began getting college offers," he said.
McCollum's decision came down to Wingate and Methodist.
Visiting Wingate and talking with the Bulldog coaches helped McCollum make his decision.
"I love the coaches. They've been honest with me as far as telling me what I need to work on," he said.
McCollum's looking at studying biology and going into being a physician assistant. Jackson is planning on studying, "something criminal justice related."
The opportunity to play Division I baseball is the result of lots of work, making it more rewarding as well as something Jackson's happy he'll be able to share with family. Greensboro's a fairly short trip for Aggie home dates. Jackson knows his family probably won't limit themselves just to home games, though.
"There will be travel all over the East Coast. I'm sure my family will travel as much as they can," Jackson said, "I know I'll usually have some fans in the stands."
Wingate, in NCAA Div. II's South Atlantic Conference and coming off a 6-5, 5-2 season last fall, will host St. Augustine's to open its 2013 season on Sept. 14.
North Carolina A&T is 15-35 overall and 8-15 in the MEAC this season with two regular-season games, then next week's MEAC Tournament in Norfolk, Va. still to play.