Four Sharks make college plans official on signing day

Four Sharks make college plans official on signing day

Four May River High School student-athletes made their college plans official during a ceremony in The Tank on Wednesday, posing for photos with their families and enjoying customized snacks to celebrate the culmination of a dream.

Football stars Garvin Douglas and Jaeon Allen made it official, with Douglas heading to Hutchinson Community College in Kansas and Allen staying closer to home at South Carolina State, while softball standout Ruthie Roman and soccer star Adrianna Machado both inked with Columbia College.

One of the highlights was the spread of snacks provided by Allen’s aunt and emblazoned with the signee’s photo and the S.C. State logo, including cupcakes and crowd-pleasing white fudge-dipped Oreos befitting a celebration. Allen has plenty to celebrate as he joins the reigning HBCU national champion Bulldogs, teaming up with former Bluffton standouts Rakim White and Kylan Simmons in Orangeburg. 

Allen was a star at Battery Creek before transferring to May River for his senior season and helping the Sharks capture the Region 7-4A title as a three-way standout. He shared the backfield load with Cam Scott and provided big plays in the return game, but his biggest impact came on defense, and that’s where the Bulldogs see him. Allen was a defensive back in high school, and that’s where S.C. State lists him, but at 6-3 and 200 pounds, he could also grow into a linebacker or edge rusher during his time in Orangeburg.

Douglas was one of the breakout stars of the 2021 football season, leading the Lowco with 1,673 rushing yards and an incredible 24 rushing touchdowns in 11 games. The fact that Douglas completed less than 50 percent of his passes for 694 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions — combined with the fact he played only sparingly in his all-important junior year — might have contributed to his limited options to play quarterback at the next level, but he found an opportunity to do so at Hutchinson and develop his passing skills under head coach Drew Dallas, a quarterback himself in high school and college.

The Blue Dragons won the NJCAA national title in the COVID-altered 2020-21 season and carried the momentum in this season, going 9-2 and winning their first Kansas JUCO title since 1995. Douglas will be in a good environment to develop for one or two seasons and transfer to a four-year school.

Roman broke out in her junior season for the Sharks, batting .339 with four doubles, a triple, a homer, and 15 RBIs in 21 games. Roman said she didn’t expect to have the opportunity to play college softball, but when the Koalas showed interest, she knew she had to take advantage. Now she’s even more motivated for her senior season to continue developing the skills she will need in Columbia and try to lead the Sharks to a state title.  

Machado will be a four-year letterwinner after playing her senior season on the pitch for the Sharks, and she’s looking to build off a terrific junior campaign in which she earned the team’s MVP award and claimed a spot on the Class 4A All-State team. A versatile player who has excelled at center back for May River, Machado said she found the small-school environment and close-knit team she was looking for in Columbia.

By Justin Jarrett

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