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Local athletes put pen to paper for signing day

Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 6:18 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -It was early signing day for high school athletes all over the nation on Wednesday, and a few local athletes put pen to paper to play at the next level.

That includes a couple of football players over at South Walton. It was an early afternoon ceremony taking place in the Seahawks auditorium with receiver Cade Roberts carrying through on his long commitment to the University of South Florida.

Cade was a four year starter for Coach Tisa and the Seahawks, racking up just under 35-hundred yards and 25 touchdowns. His career total of 261 receptions now the record in the state of Florida.

“Yeah it’s a blessing to be a part of the USF family,” said Roberts. “I’m so glad, Coach Scott, Coach Bentley, Coach Sims believing in me these past couple of months. I’m so blessed and so excited to get there.”

The quarterback who’s been throwing to him the past few seasons, Kemper Hodges, today signed with the Air Force Academy in Colorado. Kemper with prolific numbers the past two seasons, and this season rushed for over 11 hundred yards and 26 touchdowns. He passed for three thousand yards and another 34 TD’s, so a total of 42-hundred yards plus and 60 touchdowns.

“You know it’s a really big stress reliever,” said Hodges. “Making it official and finally competing my dreams of wanting to play Divison One football. lt’s been a long process since freshman year and it’s just a great feeling.”

One other signing taking place at South Walton today, and this one for golf. Hayes Gibson, he signed today with Huntingdon College in Montgomery.

To the west a little bit in Niceville and one of the biggest fish in the area’s football recruiting pond, Azareyeh Thomas choosing the Florida State Seminoles for his football future. Thomas can do it all, safety, cornerback, receiver, special teams.

The four star racked up over 850 total yards and 17 touchdowns for the Eagles this season. He says he’s talked with the FSU staff about playing on both sides of the ball in Tally.

The senior Eagle making a tough decision among the top teams that offered him, one school he heavily considered was Florida, ultimately, though, deciding Tallahassee was a better fit.

“They both came at me pretty hard,” said Thomas. “But through it all, what really separated it was that family feel. When I went on my visit to Florida State, Coach Norvell, you could say he was very passionate about the game and you could tell that he will move this program in the next direction.”

Two of his teammates also signed Wednesday. Austin Firestone, a 6-5 260 pound two-way lineman is bound for Northwestern.

Khalil Jacobs, who played linebacker, defensive back, and receiver for the Eagles, signed with South Alabama. He’s projected to play linebacker in Mobile.

Meanwhile at Arnold, two baseball players signed and a more unique scholarship was accepted. First the baseball signees, pitcher Colton Dorsey inking an offer with Wallace, a Juco program up in Dothan.

Infielder, Warrick Wilmot, also bound for Wallace, so the two Marlins will play on the next couple of years as teammates.

And then there’s Khloe Smith signing a scholarship with Rollins College in Central Florida, for rowing! Thus becoming the first Bay County athlete perhaps ever, but certainly in recent memory to sign a rowing scholarship!

Over at North Bay Haven, Gabe Anderson, a 6-2 195 pound Defense End and Linebacker signs with the University of Rochester in upstate New York. 71 tackles, two sacks three forced fumbles for Gabe this season.

In Chipley, a signing there today for Alsethony McGhee. He’s a 5-10, 175 pound athlete who played running back, safety, corner and special teams for coach Buchanan and the Tigers.

He signed with Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. McGhee part of a Tigers team that was 9-4 and made it to the region finals!

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