Brew Tech’s Steve Rogers commits to ASU

Brewbaker Tech star player Steve Rogers committed to continue his basketball career at Alabama State on Monday.

The 6-1 guard led the Rams with 32.1 points per game, 4.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.8 steals this season. He was named to the Class 1A-4A Advertiser All-Metro team and is one of three finalists for the ASWA Class 4A Player of the Year, which will be announced on Wednesday.

Rogers is as familiar as he can be with the Hornets. He frequently practices at ASU with his father, Steve Rogers Sr., who’s an assistant coach at ASU.

Rogers will join a crop of local talent on ASU, former G.W. Carver forward Tony Armstrong, former Evangel Christian guard Princeton Davis and former Wetumpka guard Terrance LeFlore.

Three Poets sign scholarships

Sidney Lanier football players Tristian Buyck and Greg Thomas, along with volleyball player Shadaria Miller, signed scholarships to continue their athletic careers at a signing ceremony on Tuesday.

The signings are the first under athletic director C.J. Harris, who took over last spring.

Buyck and Thomas – who have played together since they were 3 years old – will play for California College of the Desert. Miller will play for Concordia College in Selma.

Buyck, a 6-0, 200-pound wide receiver, was the Poets’ most effective offensive weapon this season. He started the year at wide receiver and moved to quarterback midseason. He was heavily involved in the offensive game plan after he switched to quarterback, and led the team in rushing, passing and receiving.

“I feel good finally knowing that I signed that paper and I’m starting my future,” Buyck said. “It’s very cool, especially with my brother Gregory Thomas. We’ve been together since Day 1. We played little league, pee wee together, and came up all the way through junior high and high school. It’s just a great honor to have him going with me.”

Thomas, a 6-1, 285-pound offensive guard, helped paved the way for Buyck despite battling a right knee injury most of the season. He was a four-year starter and ecstatic to continue his career with a close friend and realize a dream his late mother had for him.

“It was very important. My mom passed away three years ago, and that’s all she wanted to see was for me to go to college,” Thomas said. “Just to go free, on a scholarship, it’s very important. It brings tears to my eyes.”

Miller was Lanier’s top outside hitter, middle hitter and blocker. She was a four-year started for the Poets and hopes that her signing, along with Buyck’s and Thomas’, will increase the school’s exposure for future athletes.

“I feel so wonderful. I’ve been playing volleyball my whole high school career, and I can’t stop smiling from ear to ear,” Miller said. “When I finally put my mind to finally playing volleyball, I never imagined getting a scholarship. It’s very exciting.”

Wetumpka’s Brandon Kennedy invited to Under Armour game

Wetumpka offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy’s work in off-season camps has put him on college radars.

On Wednesday, Kennedy was invited to compete against some of the best high school players in the nation in the 2015 Under Armour All-American football game.

Details of when the game will be played have not been released.

“I’m very excited and proud to have that. It’s an honor to be considered to be one of the top football players in the nation,” Kennedy said. “My mom is very excited. She’s ready to go now.”

A 6-2, 293-pound prospect, Kennedy is rated a three-star by 247Sports. He has received 11 offers so far, most notably from Missouri, Cincinnati, Troy and Western Kentucky. He has also been contacted by Auburn, Alabama, Duke and Mississippi State.

Kennedy helped the Indians finish 7-5 and reach the second round of the state playoffs this season. He also paved the way for the Advertiser Class 5A-6A Player of the Year Charlie Crenshaw, who ran for 1,419 yards and 19 touchdowns while catching 37 passes for 353 yards and five scores. Crenshaw signed with Mississippi Valley State in early March.

Kennedy worked at tackle his sophomore season and moved to guard his junior season. He’s being recruited as a guard or center, and has been working with teammate and fellow offensive lineman Christian Williams, who signed with Georgia Southern.

Kennedy knows being invited to the Under Armour game will put a target on his back his senior season, and plays to continue to raise the bar as he catches the eyes of more colleges.

“I feel like I have to live up to the standards,” Kennedy said. “I feel like I should keep working and continue to do great things and great things will happen like this.”

Edgewood’s Josh Crawford commits to Vanderbilt

Edgewood junior running back Josh Crawford received a scholarship offer and verbally committed to Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Crawford was the Advertiser All-Metro Player of the Year this season after running for 1,675 yards and 27 touchdowns.

“I’m very excited. It had the top three things that my family and I were looking for,” Crawford said. “My mom wanted me to go to a prestigious academic school. Plus, I get a chance to play early and it’s in the best conference in college football. And it’s close to home, so it’s just everything that I was looking for.”

Crawford, a 5-10, 210-pound prospect, also threw for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns while he filled in at quarterback. He led the Wildcats to a fourth-straight AISA Class AA state title and a record 45th straight win this season. Crawford was also a finalist for the AISA Back of the Year by the ASWA.

He took a visit to the Vanderbilt campus this weekend. He also visited Cincinnati, Alabama State and UAB in recent weeks. Vanderbilt was his first scholarship offer.

Crawford is the first player in Edgewood history to receive an SEC football offer.

“I loved the campus and the food was great. And Nashville is a big city, the second I got to Nashville I was like, ‘Wow, this is an amazing place,’” Crawford said. “I knew Vanderbilt was at the top of my list because of those three main qualities, I get to play early, it’s close to home and it’s a great academic school. It was already at the top of my list.”

St. Jude drops baseball program

Due to a dwindling roster, the St. Jude Pirates have discontinued their baseball team for the remainder of the season.

St. Jude baseball coach Don Jackson said the roster was down to seven or eight players, and the decision to drop the program was made earlier in the week.

“We wound up with a numbers issue as far as players this year. We had a number of players that participate in track and field. We ended up having to shut it down for the rest of the year,” Jackson said. “We had no choice. We got to the point where we were down to seven or eight bodies. We wound up having to forfeit a game on Saturday and then we had discussions at the athletic department about not continuing this season.”

St. Jude reinstated its baseball program last season after it was previously cut in 2010. The Pirates delayed their start to the season because of the basketball team winning the Class 1A state championship, which had the team playing until early March.

The Pirates don’t have the largest pool of athletes to draw from. According to AHSAA documents released when reclassification was announced earlier this year, the Pirates have an enrollment of 112.05. Private schools’ enrollments are multiplied by 1.35, meaning St. Jude has 83 actual students.

“We had some of the same issues last year. We played most of the season last year with 12 players. We had a couple of players transfer to other schools this year, and with a school this size, that’s very difficult,” Jackson said. “We’re not the only school that has these kinds of issues. I’ve been involved with youth baseball and trying to get African-American kids more involved with baseball for 20 or so years. Unfortunately, they all kind of gravitate to basketball and football. As a result, it’s kind of hard to stimulate enthusiasm as far as baseball is concerned.”

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