Football here in South Carolina continues to play a big role for many families and fans on Friday nights. Those spectators are seeing a rise in the competition level and performances put forth each week it seems. We are in no way knocking teams or players from the past as they laid the foundation for current players to excel on a grand stage. With the number of South Carolina high school teams playing on ESPN and FoxSports each year growing it's apparent that this isn't your father's brand of high school football.
While the 2009 class may be one of the best in recent years another area where this class has started to stand out has become evident to us...the reemergence of the dominant student-athlete. We can't remember a recent recruiting class with so many outstanding prospects who perform equally on a high level in the classroom. More times than not we hear of players who are struggling to maintain their GPA or obtain their needed test scores to gain entry to colleges. Academics are vital to a successful future and not everyone can excel in the classroom but it's time someone brought attention to the players who are not only shining on Friday nights impressing college coaches for scholarship offers, but also the same players who are ranking high academically in their graduating class or even contending for valedictorian honors as well.
The early list of 2009 standouts who are holding gaudy GPA numbers is quite impressive. Guys like DE Justice Cunningham, CB/RB Lex Butler, S Justin Bright, QB Bo Whitney, OL Tymeco Gregory, OL Daniel Berg, and others are all sporting extremely high GPA's many of them are over 4.0.
Athletes need to learn early on that while it's great to receive accolades and awards for your athletic prowess. In order to take those skills on to the next level and hope to earn a scholarship though all the hours of practice put in to become a top flight athlete needs to be matched equally with study time and work in the classroom.
Justice Cunningham chimed in about the rigors of being a great student-athlete. Cunningham is a top football prospect but also excels in basketball as well. He plays both sports in school and plays for 2 different AAU basketball teams in the offseason as well all while maintaining a social life when time allows it. Cunningham checks in with a 4.1 GPA. "It's tough but you have to maintain your priorities." The statement by Cunningham was perfect because without the necessary grades those dreams of playing on the college level may never be realized.
SCPrepNation.com applauds all of the student-athletes in the Palmetto State achieving at a high level in the classroom as well as their families, mentors, teachers, and supporting cast.