Prep notebook: Trio of Oxford athletes pick their colleges
by Brandon Miller
Jan 22, 2014 | 2626 views |  0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Several Calhoun County athletes decided their futures this past week, including several at Oxford High signing scholarships or committing to universities.

Oxford High's Will Smith has signed to play tennis at Marion Military Institute. He played No. 1 singles for the Yellow Jackets this past spring and helped Oxford finish second in the Red Wilder Invitational.

He is slated to graduate a semester early from high school and join the United States Marine Reserve. He will attend for boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., in February. He will spend the summer at Military Occupational Specialty and Marine Combat Training schools, then start at MMI in the fall.

Yellow Jackets softball catcher Jenn Turner signed with Southern Union late last week. She will join former Oxford teammate Stewart Gail Chase, who is a freshman at Southern Union.

Oxford safety Tae Davis was one of two Calhoun County football players to commit on official visits during the weekend. Davis chose Chattanooga over Tennessee State, Southeast Missouri State and Tuskegee.

“It just had a family atmosphere. Everyone welcomed me up there, from the players, the coaches, academic coaches and everyone around the program,” Davis said. “I just felt like I was at home. I’m very excited. It’s like a countdown right now.”

Saks athlete Tre Smith was the other football player to commit. Smith said he chose Central Arkansas over Jacksonville State and several junior colleges because of several factors, including the program’s sincerity and new coaching staff.

Smith will have an opportunity to play wide receiver or “rover,” which he described as a linebacker/safety, more or less the playing style of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Troy Polamalu. Smith added if former Jacksonville State coach Bill Clark, who is now at UAB, continues to show interest in him, he will take an official visit, but will not de-commit beforehand.

Ohatchee wrestler Hannah Gladden and Alexandria baseball player Zac Carrizales signed with out-of-state schools.

Gladden signed a three-fourths wrestling scholarship and one-fourth softball scholarship to Campbellsville University in Kentucky. She will participate on the women’s wrestling team after wrestling on the boys squad at Ohatchee. Carrizales has signed with Brown Mackie College, which is in Kansas.

SHOWDOWN: The Anniston and Jacksonville girls are on pace to face each other in the Calhoun County Tournament finals for the fourth straight season.

If both teams continue to win, it’ll be the first time in county history the championship has had the same two teams four straight years. Anniston’s girls won the tournament in 2011 and 2012 before Jacksonville snapped the streak last season.

Only twice has one girls team played for the championship four straight years, with Jacksonville (2000-03) being the most recent. Pleasant Valley won the tournament from 1986-89 after finishing runner-up in 1985.

Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.
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