John Milledge Academy celebrated five spring collegiate athletic signees Friday.
Head football and track coach J.T. Wall said all the student-athletes moving on are ready for the college challenge.
“These guys are exceptional students,” JMA head basketball coach Thomas Craig said. “Hopefully, I get the chance to see them all play.”
Chris Sealey, Jackson State, Football, Wide Receiver/Kick Returner
Sealey left his mark in his lone season at JMA. He is the all-time single season leader in receptions (44), receiving yards (853), receiving touchdowns (14) and punt returns (4 TDs).
Sealey sent out recruiting packages to several schools before Jackson State came calling.
“Finally, the wide receiver coach called me back,” Sealey said. “He liked what he saw.”
The speedy returner has a chance to play his freshman season.
“If I come in and win the job, I can get it,” he said. “As far as punt and kick returns, that’s pretty open for me.”
Wall said Sealey would be noticed.
“I think as soon as he walks onto the field they are going to be shocked. You look at a smaller guy, but he is a football player that has tremendous footwork, hands and understands the return game really well. I think he will step in early as a return guy,” Wall said.
Sealey enjoyed his one-year as a Trojan. He said the coaching staff aided in the college search.
The incoming Tiger works five days a week to improve his skills including pressing off coverage. Sealey plans to major in civil engineering.
Jeremy Pinkston, Berry College, Football, Cornerback
Pinkston joins the Berry Vikings for the team’s first Division III football season.
The “JMA feel” of the private college near Rome made the choice easy.
“They really wanted me to come play for them being a first year expansion program,” Pinkston said. “I had the feeling that I could make this place home.”
The Vikings should use Pinkston at cornerback or on special teams.
Wall predicts some starts year one.
“He’s a guy who really models what we stand for here at John Milledge,” Wall said. “On the field, he is special too.”
He plans to stay busy in the weight and film rooms this summer honing football skills.
“The cornerback position is difficult to learn. I’ll be working on my technique and staying sound,” Pinkston said.
In his first year at the corner slot, Pinkston tallied 78 total tackles, five for loss and two fumble recoveries.
The former Trojan wants to make the old coaching staff proud with college success.
“No one can ever replace them,” he said. “There is no way to really give back, but I’m going to try.”
He will major in exercise science.
Brantley Attaway, Georgia College, Basketball, Shooting Guard
Though Attaway chose basketball, he leaves as the Trojans all-time single season statistical leader at quarterback. The shooting guards basketball numbers aren’t bad either.
Attaway finished the year with more than 1,500 career points averaging 17 points per game this season.
He looks forward to working with the Bobcat coaching staff of Terry Sellers and assistant coach Mark Gainous starting in August.
Attaway is a preferred walk-on who will redshirt his first season. He understands his shooting stroke must be flawless.
“I need to work on my shot mainly. I’m probably not going to be the quickest guy, so I have to make up for it in other ways,” he said.
Craig likes Attaway’s college chances.
“He’s been a three sport stat for us for many years,” Craig said. “Brantley is going to work hard. He’ll get in and compete for a role.”
The Trojan coach spoke highly of the Georgia College program.
“He can’t ask to play for better coaches,” Craig said.
Attaway hopes to see some action later in his college career. His major is undecided.
Heath McDonald, Jacksonville State, Football, Long snapper
McDonald missed the Friday event because he is already on campus in Alabama. While playing both offensive and defensive line, McDonald was a large reason the Trojans generated and took away yards last fall.
The tough nosed player had 77 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 3 sacks and one fumble recovery on defense.
His long snapping prowess will be missed.
“He was a very good commodity for us at John Milledge,” Wall said. “Heath afforded us the ability to back our kicker and punter up to 15 yards versus the normal 12 because he could get it there on a line.”
Wall expects McDonald to have a big future for the Gamecocks.
Dwayne Boone, Mars Hill College, Track, Jumper
Boone wants to get better at track and field, while in Asheville, N.C.
The Mars Hill Lions expect Boone to bolster their performance in jumping events, which the JMA grad favors.
Boone polished off his senior year with a noteworthy five-event showing at the GISA State Track Meet. His 27 points placed second overall, three behind the best male performer.
The enormous point total boosted JMA to its highest finish in recent memory. Three seconds and one relay win highlighted the state effort.
Boone specializes in the long jump, high jump and triple jump.
Wall watched Boone stand out in football and track. The Trojan coach said Boone is excels at every sport due to a great work ethic.
The track guy wants to major in engineering, which could lead him closer to home after two years at Mars Hill. Boone is excited about Division II athletics at the moment.
“(Boone) was a special athlete here,” Wall said. “We expect big things out of him too.”