MOULTRIE – National Signing Day for college football may have come and gone – not to mention the new early period in December – but scholarship offers are still out there. In the coaching career of Packers boss Rush Propst, there have been signing ceremonies for players taking place well beyond that big day in early February.
This one, however, for him is unprecedented.
Colquitt County High’s leading receiver for 2017 and 1,000-point career scorer in basketball, Cam Singletary, is going the football route beyond his Packer days. On Monday, his teammates, coaches and family celebrated his choice to sign with Tennessee Tech. This is an NCAA Division I program in the Football Championship Subdivision and the Ohio Valley Conference.
And how about this? For the first time, one of Propst’s specialists is moving on to college football on scholarship. Noah Hightower, the steady and reliable long snapper for all the great kicking achievements of Ryan Fitzgerald, signed Monday to play at Shorter University in Rome.
Propst said it doesn’t happen often in major universities, but it does happen that schools will not give out all of their scholarships on Signing Day.
“We’ve had other kids sign on down the road,” he said. “But nothing of this magnitude.”
Propst added that both Singletary and Hightower had choices. In fact, Berry College, also in Floyd County with Shorter, had interest in Hightower. Propst said Singletary was weighing the football and basketball offers, and that Tennessee Tech was willing to wait for his choice.
“When you have two schools battling for your services, you’re better off,” said Propst. “You can play one against the other.
“In Cam’s situation … being a two-sport athlete helps you. Cam’s probably the best two-sport athlete we’ve had since I’ve been here. I can’t remember anyone who’s been as celebrated in both sports. That’s a rarity. He’s signing a football scholarship, which will allow him to play Division I football. Once the football coaches are convinced he’s their guy week in and week out, then if he wants to play basketball at Tennessee Tech, he’ll be allowed to do that. If you go basketball, you can’t turn around and play football because of the numbers.”
For a Packer team in 2017 that was short on seniors but played for the Class 7A championship, the number going on to college could be nine before the year is done. Propst said cornerbacks Jarvis Christopher and Quen McNeil are visiting Faulkner University in Montgomery this week. Lineman Kyante Rivers already signed this year with Faulkner.
Singletary had 1,025 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in 15 games last season. Add to that 320 yards returning punts. He’s going to a Tennessee Tech program that struggled to win games in 2017, but Singletary said it’s a place God is putting him. “Awesome” was the word he used to describe the whole process of deciding where to go and what to play while also playing for the Packers at a high level.
“It’s a great place to be,” said Singletary. “They made me feel like I was at home. I think it’s a good place for me to be in the future. (The football team) hasn’t been that great in the past, but I think I can make a big impact on them … in a lot of ways, physically and mentally.”
That’s what Singletary did as a Packer for Colquitt County High. He said it was “amazing” to be a Packer, playing in all the high-intensity settings for the past four years. Singletary said the biggest lesson in playing for Colquitt and its coaches is character.
At Tennessee Tech, Singletary wants to study sports medicine with the aim of becoming a physical therapist.
Hightower’s name won’t appear on the special teams stat list, but he kept one number in mind when speaking about his role on the Packer team. That number is one, as in one bad snap to Fitzgerald in the punting unit for the entire 2017 season. In all, there were 65 punts, 50 PAT attempts and 24 attempted field goals that required a snap. That’s 139 in all, only one bad.
“It’s an amazing feeling probably being the only long snapper to come through Colquitt County to play college football,” said Hightower. “Especially at a school like Shorter. They have a great program, brand new coaching staff.”
To get ready for this transition, Hightower will keep on snapping during the summer, and he will work out with the Packers and help break in a new snapper. Hightower compared the workouts at Colquitt County to that of a college, so he’s not expecting anything to be different in practices at Shorter.
“I look to start as a freshman. They don’t have a long snapper (returning), so I will try for a starting position,” he said. “I want to be pre-med. I’ll go to Shorter for four years, then transfer to Emory in Atlanta to become an orthopedic physician’s assistant.”