Over the past few weeks, I’ve written about and produced podcasts on the incredible journeys of Dee Delaney and Poona Ford from their Lowco days all the way to the NFL stage. But there are so many more area names to keep an eye on in the college ranks. It takes incredible dedication to make it to that next level, and our young men have committed themselves to put in the work. Here are just a few of our former stars that are showing out on Saturday afternoons.
Bryce Singleton, WR, Florida International
A speedster under BJ Payne at Hilton Head High, Singleton dashed his way into the school’s records books with an incredible 24 touchdowns in his senior year. He emerged as a talented deep receiving threat for the Panthers and a dangerous weapon in the return game. Singleton broke out in his 2018 sophomore campaign, picking up a catch in nine of 10 games and becoming an integral target in Butch Davis’ offense.
After suffering an injury that forced him to miss the 2019 campaign, Singleton returned the next year to lead his team in receptions. The highlight-reel playmaker dominated in the 2021 season opener against LIU, reeling in six passes for 149 yards and a touchdown before adding six more for 173 yards on Saturday at Central Michigan. His phenomenal hands and big-play ability should make him the go-to receiver on the offense for the rest of his Panther tenure.
Lee Kirkland, QB, Pikeville
After his stellar Bluffton career wrapped up in 2019, there was little interest in Kirkland’s abilities at the next level. But that didn’t stop his drive to succeed in the college game. Despite the possibility of converting to a tight end at 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds, Kirkland wanted to play quarterback. He found an opportunity at NAIA Pikeville University and challenged himself to earn the starting job.
In his first start last week, Kirkland saw his incredible work pay off. He torched Bluefield’s defense, throwing for 334 yards and four touchdowns in a 52-20 win. The former Bobcat followed it up on Saturday with 217 more passing yards and two scores in a 59-0 shutout of Webber International. Kirkland never doubted his abilities, and now he’s primed for a big sophomore campaign in Kentucky.
Rakim White, WR, SC State
One of the most talented and fun players to watch during his time as a Bluffton Bobcat, White has taken the next step to become an explosive receiver and kick returner in Orangeburg. The 2020 Bluffton graduate came up huge in the season opener at Alabama A&M, taking a kickoff 80 yards to set up a short field for the offense. A week later, he experienced a dream come true, taking the field at Death Valley in a matchup with the Clemson Tigers. White has two catches for 31 yards this year, and he should continue to make strides with his elite quickness to become a valuable piece of the Bulldogs’ offense.
Ahmad Green, QB, The Citadel
The former May River superstar now has a new home at the next level. Green has already made some outstanding impressions at the Citadel and should become an impact player for Brent Thompson’s Bulldog squad. The South Carolina Mr. Football finalist shined in a preseason scrimmage, darting into the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown in August. With his incredible explosiveness running the football, Green should get his opportunities for his new squad, whether it’s behind center or as a versatile offensive skill player. He’s been one of the most talented athletes to come out of the Lowco, and it’s only a matter of time before he comes up big on the Saturday stage.
Sam Summa, TE, UCLA
We’ve seen so many basketball players over the years swap their sneakers for football cleats and become dominant tight ends in the college game and the NFL. The Bruins have had a rich history of sending TEs off to the league, and maybe Hilton Head High’s Sam Summa could be next. The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Seahawk star is just a freshman at UCLA, but his phenomenal strength and arm extension will make him a future standout on the West Coast. He only played three games on the football field as a quarterback last season at Hilton Head High, but he put together an unforgettable campaign on the court, dominating the boards to help lead the Seahawks to their first ever basketball state championship game. His work ethic and drive is unrivaled, and we expect Summa to continue it at UCLA.
We could list so many more of our college stars, as the number continues to grow each year thanks to our outstanding coaching staffs across the Lowcountry. It’s been incredible to follow our former standouts as they eye successful careers at the next level, and we should see lots of highlights from coast to coast on Saturday afternoons this fall.
By Wes Kerr