Thompson Sends 14 Student-Athletes to the Next Level on Early Signing Day
It was truly a special day in Warrior Arena Wednesday, December 15 as 14 Warriors signed with 12 different institutions to continue their academic and athletic careers. In all, these student-athletes signed scholarship offers that include seven Division 1 schools and several junior colleges. As Thompson’s athletics director Vince Pitts said in his opening address: “Days like today never get old.”
“Today, we get to see these young people take their hard work, their success they had with us and take the next step for themselves and for their futures that’s what makes this day so special,” said Thompson High School principal, Dr. Wesley Hester.
Eight football players, four baseball players, one volleyball and one softball player made up the sum total of one of the biggest signing days in Thompson history.
We’ll start with the ladies first as volleyball’s Briana Wilson and softball’s Ella Pate signed Division 1 scholarships with in-state schools. After several All-County and All-State selections and two straight trips to Final Four with Thompson, Wilson settled on the University of South Alabama where she will compete with the Jaguars in the Sun Belt Conference.
Pate also piled up the All-County and All-State accolades as the Warriors made several deep postseason runs in the softball program during her career. She signed with Jacksonville State University and will join the Gamecocks in an exciting era of change for the university. JSU currently resides in the Ohio Valley Conference, but recently inked a deal with Conference USA and will begin play in their new home in 2023.
Thompson’s baseball team sent four of their Warriors to play at the next level as Devin Brooks, Major Paracca, Gavin Chandler and Brodie Holcomb signed their letters of intent on Wednesday. All four players still have one season remaining with Thompson in the coming Spring of 2022.
Devin Brooks pledged to head to Alabama State University, a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and one of Alabama’s most prominent HBCUs located in the state capital of Montgomery.
Brodie Holcomb will head north to Hanceville to join Wallace State University as a junior college prospect. The Wallace State Lions compete in Division I of the Alabama Community College Conference and the National Junior College Athletic Association.
Major Paracca and Gavin Chandler will continue their collegiate careers as teammates as they both signed with Marion Military Institute. Founded in 1842, it is the official state military college of Alabama and the nation's oldest military junior college. The Tigers are also a member of Alabama Community College Conference, a part of National Junior College Athletic Association, Division I.
Thompson’s football program had eight players sign scholarships Wednesday and expect more to come in February with several Warriors still weighing their prospects and enjoying their senior years. Jeremiah Alexander, Conner Harrell, Tre’Quon Fegans, Ryan Peppins, Jax Van Zandt, Trevor Hardy, Jaylen Ward and Ahmari Bolden will take their talents to the collegiate level with several as early enrollees.
Alexander and Fegans both signed with the University of Alabama after incredible high school careers where they both started all four years. The duo helped Thompson to a record-breaking historic year on defense and the football program’s third consecutive state championship. Alabama, of course, plays in the Southeastern Conference which resides in the FBS level of NCAA Division 1.
Conner Harrell, the reigning 7A Back of the Year and last year’s Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year, will continue his career with the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Harrell guided Thompson’s offense two consecutive years, breaking the school’s points record each time. He will play for legendary coach Mack Brown and the Tar Heels who make their home in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Ryan Peppins will also head to a Power 5 program with the University of Utah. Peppins set the school record for touchdown receptions in 2021 and helped the Warriors set yet another record for points scored in a season. Utah competes in the PAC-12 of NCAA Division 1.
Trevor Hardy, Thompson’s do-it-all secondary defender and hero of the 2020 state championship, signed to the University of Memphis. The Tigers, a constant candidate for conference realignment, are a part of the American Athletic Conference in the NCAA’s FBS division.
Jax Van Zandt will join the University of North Texas after a career as a multi-year starter for the Warriors. The senior was also a part of Thompson’s record breaking defense and led the team in tackles multiple years. North Texas competes in Conference USA.
Jaylen Ward signed on as a future member of Conference USA as well and became part of Middle Tennessee State University’s 2022 recruiting class. Ward was second in receiving yards and touchdowns this past fall as the Warriors won their third consecutive state championship.
Ahmari Bolden will head to Montgomery also, but will join the Faulkner University Eagles. Bolden played as a linebacker at the start of his career with Thompson and was a feature at multiple positions on offense during this year’s championship run. Faulkner participates in the NAIA’s Mid-South Conference.
Congratulations to all of our student-athletes on your accomplishments so far and we have no doubt the future holds great things for each and every one of you. Go Warriors!