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Five athletes take center stage at Nation Ford High School on National Signing Day

Nation Ford High had five athletes sign letters of intent for National Signing Day Wednesday. Those were, from left, front row, Megan Eastep (Queens University-soccer) and Isabella Dyckes (Spartanburg Methodist-soccer). Back row, from left, Jalen Henderson (Gardner-Webb University-soccer), Tim Smith (VMI-football), and Jy’Montae Drafton (St. Andrews University-football).
Nation Ford High had five athletes sign letters of intent for National Signing Day Wednesday. Those were, from left, front row, Megan Eastep (Queens University-soccer) and Isabella Dyckes (Spartanburg Methodist-soccer). Back row, from left, Jalen Henderson (Gardner-Webb University-soccer), Tim Smith (VMI-football), and Jy’Montae Drafton (St. Andrews University-football).

With pens in hand, five Nation Ford student athletes made commitments to play college sports next year on National Signing Day.

Three of the athletes will be playing college soccer, while two of them are football players. The football players signing were Tim Smith with Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and Jy’Montae Drafton with St. Andrews University. Soccer signings were Isabella Dyckes with Spartanburg Methodist College, Megan Eastep with Queens University and Jalen Henderson with Gardner-Webb University.

Tim Smith: VMI

Smith, 18, had his choice from several colleges including Western Carolina, The Citadel, Limestone and UNC-Pembroke, but chose VMI because of the chance it gave him, he said.

“It is going to set me up for the future,” he said.

Smith said he has been told that he should start at safety as a freshman for VMI and hopes that his play will eventually get him noticed by the NFL. If not, his major of mechanical engineering will set the stage for Smith’s career plans.

Jy’Montae Drafton: St.Andrews University

Drafton, 17, picked St. Andrews over South Carolina State and Gardner-Webb University. The school, located in Laurinburg, North Carolina, was too good of an offer for Drafton to pass up, he said.

“They showed me plenty of love,” he said. “I love the environment.”

Drafton said he plans on majoring in either communications or business management.

Isabella Dyckes; Spartanburg Methodist College

The first of the soccer players, Dyckes, 17, plans on playing for Spartanburg Methodist College and said she liked the close-knit environment she sensed at the school.

“I liked the campus and the soccer team felt like a family,” she said.

Spartanburg Methodist won out in getting Dyckes over other schools such as Newberry, Queens, Coastal Carolina and UNC-Charlotte. Dyckes plans on majoring in exercise science.

Megan Eastep: Queens University

Dyckes’ Nation Ford teammate, Eastep, 18, will be going to Queens, choosing that school rather than Newberry College. Eastep said the reason she picked Queens was because of its proximity.

“It is close to home and I really love the program,” she said. “It is like a family community.”

Eastep plans on majoring in kinesiology.

Jalen Henderson: Gardner-Webb University

Henderson, 17, committed to Gardner-Webb University.

“It felt like a good fit for me,” he said. “Everything about the campus struck me.”

Henderson said he chose Gardner-Webb over Winthrop University and the University of South Carolina. He plans on majoring in business.

Mac Banks: mbanks@comporium.net, @MacBanksFM

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