Wednesday was the first day under NCAA and NJCAA rules that recruits could sign letters of intent with their chosen schools. For Fort Scott Community College, the process works in both directions as graduating sophomores move on to four-year schools while high school seniors make their commitment to the Greyhound program.
FSCC head coach Jeff Sims saw 27 of his 33 players eligible for transfer make their decisions Wednesday. In his three seasons as head coach, 77 players have moved on to NCAA or NAIA programs.
"At the very beginning, the staff and players brought in the motto 'Graduate, Championship, Scholarship'," Sims said in a press release issued by FSCC Wednesday night. "I feel the players have done a great job of buying into the motto and executing their plans for success."
NJCAA and Jayhawk Conference Offensive Player of the Year Jasmin Hopkins signed to play at Northern Illinois University of the Mid-American Conference while fellow All-Americans LaVonte' David and Jermarcus Hardrick signed on with Nebraska of the Big 12 Conference.
Defensive line mates Anthony White and Byron Jerideau both signed with NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS, formerly known as IA) programs. White signed with the Michigan State University and Jerideau signed with the University of South Carolina.
East Carolina University of Conference USA signed quarterback Dominique Davis and offensive line Anthony Garrett.
Local football fans won't have to go far to see five former Greyhounds play on Saturdays as Pittsburg State University signed Jeremiah Fleming, C.J. Fondren, Justin Woods, Bryant Sanchez, and Cody Moore.
Other players moving on to four-year schools include: Omar Leftwich, Ohio University; Josh Baker, Arkansas State University; Zach Bowers, South Dakota State; Nick Folken, Avila University; Jasper Grimes, Eastern Michigan; Donnell Jones, Arkansas Tech; Keenan Mathies, Kansas; Zach McFall, Kansas State University; Nemanja Nikolic, Edinboro University; Kaleb Mueller, Missouri State; Garrett Kufahl, Concordia University; Mike McDonald, Arkansas Tech; Roy Harvison, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff; Andre Clarke, Murray State; Steven Ford, North Texas.
While making sure things were finalized properly for their graduating players, the Greyhound staff also had to finalize things with the incoming class for 2010.
"We tried to focus on rebuilding our offensive line and we feel we have been very successful," Sims said, "We graduated our top six offensive linemen ... so that offered recruits the opportunity to come in and be a factor right away. We also feel that signing the top in-state quarterbacks is extremely important to our success and we signed our top two recruits at quarterback.
"At the skill positions, we have reloaded with a group of tall, fast athletes that will give us the opportunity to do many things on the offensive side of the ball."
Being able to recruit Kansas high school players have been key to the Greyhounds' success as they have sent 45 Kansas high school graduates to four-year colleges after their playing days were over at FSCC. Kansas was the home state of 16 players on the 2009 Greyhound roster who signed with four-year schools.
Staying home to further their education and play football for the 'Hounds are Fort Scott High offensive lineman Dustin Willard and running back Cody Cannon.
A few of the other stand-out high-school players from Kansas that the 'Hounds staff signed Wednesday were Taylor Wallace of Kansas City-Schlagle, Chris Mayer from Shawnee-Mill Valley, Matt Bollig of Chanute, Brannon Green of Labette County, C.J. Cole and Jake Tinsley from Crest, and Ryan Kincaid of Bishop Miege.
"I'm glad to have these men join our program as I think it is a tremendous compliment to our staff of assistant coaches that so many quality men want to join the program and work hard toward our goal of being 1-0 to start the 2010 season." Sims said.
Labette County High School also said that running back Davey Brown and offensive lineman Jordan Hills also signed with FSCC. One online recruiting site reported that the following players also signed on, although they had not yet been confirmed by the coaching staff: Dillon Roberts from Pleasanton, Bryson Allen and Wyatt JuAire of Fredonia, Jordan Brenn and Tarail Johnson of Parsons, Michael Bulard of Oswego, Cody Cherry and Will Holt of Girard, Matt Crain and Damion Tinnin of Columbus, Alex Evans and Dylan Mjelde of Pittsburg Colgan, Shane Hammer of Cherryvale, T.J. Walls and Damen Hartwig of Chanute, John Lobner of Kansas City-Piper, Jamiuah McFaddan-Smallwood of Wichita South, Chase Meade of Riverton, Nathan Phillips of Louisburg, Jeremiah Plowden of Wichita Southeast (also reported by the Wichita Eagle) and, Cole Ingram of Baldwin (also reported by the Topeka Capital-Journal).
Information for this article was provided by Fort Scott Community College Sports Information, kpreps.com, the Wichita Eagle and the Topeka Capital-Journal.