If all goes to plan, there will be a time in the future when the world gets to taste Brandon Mills' as-of-yet unnamed shrimp fried rice dish.
The Rock Hill High School senior is like any good wrestler, he has a plan. And the first part of that plan came to fruition Wednesday morning, May 9, 2018 in the school's media center when he signed a National Letter of Intent to wrestle at Coker College. Mills plans on majoring in business before going to culinary school after he graduates college.
"I wanted to be part of a signing day ever since I started this sport back in seventh grade," said Mills. "My brother did it and I was like, 'I'm gonna make it there, I'm gonna do it too.'"
After his education is completed, Mills, an A/B student, wants to combine his business and culinary knowledge and open a restaurant. He loves to cook and has been honing his menu.
"It's this spin on Chinese, basically," he said.
Mills was one of seven Bearcats that sat at a table early Wednesday, bleary-eyed and sleepy-looking, but excited about the future. The seven signing college sports agreements give Rock Hill High 22 signees for the school year. An eighth member of the signing class, football player Devin Cannon, was unable to attend Wednesday's ceremony. He'll play college pigskin at Newberry.
Hear from the Rock Hill signees in this interactive graphic:
Desmond Buchanan, St. Andrews (football)
Rock Hill High's powerful running back joins St. Andrews' second-year football program.
"It was a nice school on academics, which is something I need help with," said Buchanan. "I met a lot of teammates and they were really friendly, and the coaches really brought me in so I liked the program."
Buchanan said he'll major in sports marketing, though he doesn't have specific career plans yet. He had a huge senior season for the Bearcats, rushing for over, 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns, and he hopes that momentum continues into college.
"If I work hard during the offseason I think I'll be a big help to their offense," Buchanan said. "They have a young squad and most of them are coming back."
Johnathan White, Limestone (track and field/cross country)
White may have some free time during the winter months, but he'll otherwise be a busy college student running cross country and track and field at Limestone. He picked the Gaffney-based school over North Greenville because it's located closer to Rock Hill.
"I know it's gonna be another step but I feel like I'm gonna get better and be able to run fast," White said.
White will study sports management and would like to coach and teach when he finishes college. He plans to run the 800-meter, 1600-meter and the 4x800-meter relay for the Saints.
"I feel like their team is constantly getting better," said White.
Garrett Gwin and Jackson Timmons, USC Lancaster (baseball)
Both Gwin and Timmons qualified academically for NCAA, indicative that their decisions to go to USC Lancaster is about the future. Both had four-year options but preferred USC Lancaster as a spot to better themselves, baseball-wise. Timmons had offers from USC Upstate, Anderson and Francis Marion, but as a borderline Division I prospect, felt that two years with a strong junior college program like USC Lancaster could push him over the hump.
"I just think they can push me to get better and get a higher D-I," said Timmons, who will major in business.
A left-handed pitcher, Timmons gets a lot of natural movement on his pitches. He plans on shoring up his fundamentals at Lancaster and would love to pitch for Clemson in the future.
Gwin, also a pitcher, is in a similar situation. He also liked the fact that he'll be able to live at home and save money on housing, meal plans, and other college expenses. The plan is simple: "Better myself the next two years then try to get a bigger scholarship," said Gwin.
Gwin connected with the coaching staff at USC Lancaster, a program that has experienced plenty of success in the last five years.
"Going in as a freshman at a four-year, there is not a big possibility of starting," he said. "I know that next year I'll be able to start and I'll more of an opportunity to get on the field and play."
Sam Cable, Erskine (men's soccer)
Rock Hill High's tall striker will continue his career at Erskine. He got an immediately positive vibe when he visited the school and the surrounding community, Due West, S.C.
"It's not very big but it's not far off from as many distractions as you want, but it's kind of nice to have that area with no distractions," said Cable. "A little bit removed, but not far enough that you can't make the drive."
Cable's strong academic performance in high school helped him land some scholarship money. He'll give the Flying Fleet, which play a counter-attacking style, a powerful option up front. He's excited to start banging in the goals at the college level.
"I thought I wanted to do it, but I never really knew it was actually gonna happen," said Cable. "I'm blessed to be here."
Noah Reynolds, Bluefield College (W.Va.) (wrestling)
A highly successful wrestler at Rock Hill High, Reynolds will help NAIA school Bluefield College start its wrestling program. He finished his career with a state title and brings high expectations with him to West Virginia.
"I'm finally stepping in from being one of the best in the room to being just an average Joe in the room," said Reynolds. "A part of that is I'm gonna just help build the team, even if I'm not starting. I want to help this team out to be great."
Reynolds will study criminal justice at Bluefield, which has a fast-track for its graduates into law enforcement jobs. A dog-lover, Reynolds would like to work with a K-9 unit. His strong grades landed him a nearly full ride, split between wrestling and academic scholarship money.