MILLEDGEVILLE — At the junior college level, each season success is measured not only by wins and losses, but also by player development.
Nothing shows that a program is developing players better than a large sign-out class, much less to major National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I schools across the nation, which is exactly what Georgia Military College was able to accomplish yesterday morning in the Sibley-Cone Library by signing out seven players to four-year institutions.
Taking the next step were Jakevin Jackson (Western Michigan University), Davaroe Lawrence (Auburn University), Ty Flournoy-Smith (University of Alabama), Kenderius Whitehead (Georgia Institute of Technology), Qunitavious Knight (Marshall University), Devon Williams (University of Kansas) and Jarvez Holmes (Miles College).
“It’s the number one thing we want to do with the guys coming in—put them in position to graduate and be able to accept the opportunity at the highest level, which is what we’ve been able to do this year,” head coach Bert Williams said.
The Bulldogs boast a sign out class of nearly 20 players to cap off one the historic season in the fall that saw the team finish as the National Junior College Athletic Association Runner-up.
“Now we’ve had seven on the ground here today, sign, but we’ve got another seven or eight at home that are finishing up through our online campus, that are also signing at a number of Division I schools, so we’re real proud of the whole group,” Williams said following the signing. “We had some sign at Christmas as well, so we’ve got somewhere between 18 and 20 now that have signed and penned and are moving on. That’s what we work real hard to do is train these guys on the field to get better, but mainly to come in here and take care of what they need to take care of in the classroom.
“It’s probably slightly above average,” he added. “We generally have somewhere in the 14, 15, 16 Division I FBS, FCS at least in the class, but in this one we probably have more FBS this year than other years, but it’s about what we do on an annual basis.”
GMC sends off a lot of talent with this year’s sophomore class, but Williams believes the most interesting part of the process has been piecing together the right group of players and watching them move on to bigger and better opportunities.
“Classes always get pieced together, put together on the run a little bit,” he said. “Obviously, you have your signing date—we hope to have a lot of guys jump on board coming out of high school with us—but there’s guys that transfer in that don’t like where they are, they run into trouble, they’ve got some family things and want to be closer to home, you name it; there’s a laundry list of things. So, we had some guys come in that were one-year players for us like Ty Smith and Kenderius Whitehead, and they’re going to Alabama and Georgia Tech between the two of them.”
There is no mistake about it, GMC fans and coaches will remember these men for a long time.
“What I’m going to remember about the team personally is that they were just a fun group to coach,” Williams said. “There really wasn’t a day where I went to practice and felt like I was going to work. They were an enjoyable group of guys to be around—they’re a very entertaining group of guys to be around. An undefeated regular season record 11-0, a birth to the National Championship—there’s some great things, you know, six All-Americans. There’s a lot of things that the group did that I think will be easy to remember over the years.”
In all the years of coaching, Williams admits, “I think truly out of all the teams I’ve had the opportunity to coach here at GMC, this is probably the funnest group on a day-in, day-out basis that I’ve ever had.”