Grand Strand high school athletes make college commitments | News

 Grand Strand high school athletes make college commitments | News

High school athletes across the Grand Strand announced a new chapter Wednesday as they made their college commitments on National Signing Day.

Carolina Forest saw six student-athletes representing three sports sign their letters of intent.

Panthers quarterback Kyle Watkins committed to play football at Wofford College. Watkins was a standout receiver for two seasons before switching to the quarterback role and leading the Panthers to a 7-2 record last fall.

“To sign and for all this recruiting to be over, I’m very grateful,” Watkins said.

Watkins chose Wofford over Presbyterian, The Citadel, Frostburg State, North Greenville, Benedict College and Newberry.

“[Wofford] just felt like family,” Watkins said. “It’s a beautiful place and the people are great.”

Carolina Forest football coach Marc Morris described Watkins as a winner.

“He’s been a winner every day since he’s been on this campus,” Morris said.

Watkins was part of a Panther program that went 19-4 in the last two seasons, making it all the way to state semifinal in 2019.

In his senior year, Watkins rushed for 22 scores while running for 1,324 yards. He threw for 792 yards and 11 touchdowns, completing 62% of his pass attempts. 

Kaden Buchler and Brianna Hatfield of the Panthers’ track and field and cross country teams signed with Coastal Carolina and Erskine College, respectively.

“Our program will never be the same because of them,” Panthers cross country coach Jesse Patrick said.

Patrick noted that Hatfield will leave a “lasting impact on this program.” 

“She’s contributed in ways she doesn’t even know,” Patrick said.

Buchler set two school records this year in the 5,000 meters and the 6,000 meters.

“The 6K one was an accident, but hey, it’s a school record,” Patrick chuckled.

“[Buchler’s] going to leave a lasting impact, a legacy. He makes everyone better.”

Finally, three girls soccer players signed to play in the Carolinas. 

Angelina Bourcier signed to Montreat College. Shannon Felker and Alexis Lilly signed to play at Coker University.

Here’s a look at some of the other athletes who made commitments Wednesday:

Aynor High School

Lineman Thomas Johnson signed with North Greenville University. He’s coming off a stellar senior season on both sides of the ball. As a defensive end, he had 34 tackles and eight sacks.

Conway High School

Ruby Moore committed to playing volleyball at Catawba College. Last fall, Moore helped the Tigers finish second in the region and reach the 5A playoffs. 

North Myrtle Beach High School

Chiefs defensive end Chase Simmons changed course. He had announced plans to commit to Coastal Carolina, but he ultimately signed with Syracuse Wednesday.

“Thank God for these opportunities,” he said. “I’ve talked with my family, talked with my pastor and got it prayed on. I’m just extremely excited.”

His teammate, tight end/defensive tackle Henry Duke, committed to playing football at Virginia.

Billy Barlow, a member of the Chiefs’ baseball and football programs, signed with Clemson’s baseball team.

Three-sport athlete Savannah Jordan (soccer, golf, track and field) committed to Newberry College for javelin throwing.  

Two-time state champion Anna Rabon signed to play volleyball at Converse College. She was a co-captain of last year’s team.

Lindsey Downey signed with Francis Marion University to play soccer. 

Ian Guerin and Charles D. Perry contributed to this report.

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