Mitch Langford cleaned up pretty well for only two hours’ notice.
The Lewisville senior got together his Sunday best and joined fellow Lion student-athletes Dee Ealey and Holden Reynolds at Friday’s signing ceremony where the trio made their college intentions known. Ealey will play softball at Brevard College, Reynolds will play baseball at USC-Salkehatchie, and Langford will play football at Charleston Southern, after finding out at 11 a.m. on Friday that he indeed would have a preferred walk-on spot with the Buccaneers.
“I went and visited two weeks ago, on a Wednesday, and I went down there and talked to the coaches that were there,” Langford said. “Next day, the recruiting coordinator came down and was like, ‘Well, I want to offer him a spot; I want him to come down for camp.’ Right there, I said that’s where I want to go to play football.”
The arrival of head football coach Will Mitchell two seasons ago helped spur Langford into the situation he found himself in Friday, signing a blank piece of paper, a stand-in for the national letter of intent that hadn’t yet arrived from Charleston Southern.
“He stayed the course and never showed signs of panic,” said Mitchell. “I’ve had some other ones come and panic this time of year, and you sit there and say, ‘It’s gonna work out,’ and for Mitch, it did.”
Emory and Henry and Methodist were also interested in the Lewisville senior’s football abilities. Langford, who will likely play defensive back for Charleston Southern, is ranked 13th in his class with a 4.2 grade point average. He plans on studying kinesiology to become a personal trainer.
Ealey gave a short speech that drew the giggles out of the Lewisville softball teammates gathered to support her. She reflected fondly on her six years in the Lions softball program.
“It made me a better player on and off the field, and how to connect with teammates and just be good in general,” said Ealey.
She said she loved the area and the weather at Brevard College, nestled in the North Carolina mountains near Asheville, as well as the coaches. Coming from Richburg, she didn’t mind the size either.
“It’s a small place so you don’t have to move as much around,” Ealey said.
Ealey, a slugger who batted .511 this season with 40 RBI, also had recruiting interest from Lander and Claflin. She hopes to study art and graphic design in college; in high school she gets A’s and B’s.
Reynolds should thrive in junior college baseball. Jucos are allowed to play 20 games in the fall and 56 in the spring, meaning Reynolds, a baseball junkie, will be suiting up for close to 80 games a year.
“Every time I came to practice or a game, he was already there,” said Lewisville baseball coach Billy Keels.
USC-Salkehatchie, based in Allendale, is next door to, well, not much. That should help Reynolds keep his blinders up.
“I think it is good for me so I can actually focus on school and focus on playing college ball and being successful,” he said.
Reynolds, who batted .329 this year for the Lions, qualified for NCAA. He’s going to Salkehatchie with the hopes of catching on at a four-year school after he gets his associate’s degree in history. Befitting of someone who has benefited greatly from his Lewisville coaching mentors, Reynolds wants to be a teacher.
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T