Four Palmetto Tigers officially took pen to paper Wednesday morning to carry on family traditions and reach long-awaited goals during national signing day.
Students and families filled the Palmetto High School auditorium to watch Christian Kalish, Corey Brady, Rodshon Williams and Luci Derrick commit to continue their academic and athletic careers.
Kalish committed to the Air Force Academy to play football.
“Almost everyone has been in the military in my family, so it’s kind of something I have to do,” Kalish said, “Lead on the tradition.”
The offensive lineman’s father and grandfather served in the U.S. Navy; his brother was in the Army; and Kalish’s stepfather and great-uncle were in the Marine Corps.
“I don’t think excited anywhere begins to describe (it),” said Kalish’s mother, Shelley Jander. She and his grandmother, Pat Norris, wore matching blue “Proud Mother” and “Proud Grandma” Air Force shirts.
Brady, a two-way lineman, said he fell in love with Division II Carson-Newman University in Jefferson, Tenn., as soon as he saw the campus and was excited to commit Wednesday.
“I couldn’t really sleep last night,” Brady said. I stayed up like all night thinking about it.”
Williams will play for Dodge City Junior College in Dodge City, Kansas. Williams’ mother, Shona Taylor, said she thinks this is a great opportunity for the defensive tackle.
“He’s a good kid, spirited kid,” she said.
He began in the Police Athletic League, the juvenile crime prevention program that bonds law enforcement with the community
“I’ve been waiting a long time, since I was like 8,” he said.
What began as a freshman year trial sport for Luci Derrick led her to start the next chapter of her life with the University of Central Florida’s rowing team. She said she loves Orlando, but meeting UCF’s recruiting coach was what drew her to the school.
“She is the sweetest lady I’ve ever met in my life, so instantly I was like, ‘I should go there,’” she said.
Due to technical issues with their paperwork, Kaitlyn Jones and Samantha Urbina did not officially sign Wednesday, but they will plan to commit to Belmont Abbey College for soccer and College of Central Florida for softball, respectively.
Desmine Ross had planned to commit to New Mexico Military Institute, but Palmetto football coach Dave Marino said the senior was now looking at other options.
“To finally reach this day and finally achieve what their achieving today in terms of full scholarships, that’s a lot of money they’ve earned and we’re so happy for them,” Marino said.