LIVE OAK, Fla. — Nine Suwannee High student-athletes signed to play college sports in a ceremony held May 15 at SHS.
Four different sports were represented. Baseball players EJ Alvarez, Bo Bonds, Wyatt Morrill, Kolby Pickles, Trett Wadford and Josh Wharton signed with junior colleges.
Soccer player Baylor Burch signed with Division III Methodist University in North Carolina. Football player Carlton Hall signed with Dodge City Community College in Kansas and Brant Ulmer signed to play basketball with Division I Florida Atlantic.
“I am so proud of all the seniors in this class,” SHS baseball coach Justin Bruce said of his six players who signed. “It is always an honor to have this many have a chance to play at the next level. It’s a testament to all the hard work they each have put in.
“JUCO is a great route for players. It is affordable, a competitive option and allows players to have a chance to play closer to home so their parents can make the drive more often to support them. Also, JUCO baseball in Florida is always some of the most competitive baseball you will find.”
Bonds, a four-year starter at SHS, headlines the group of baseball signees. The ace pitcher who also leads the Bulldogs’ offense inked with powerhouse Chipola College.
“I thought Chipola was the best for me. JUCO, you can play two years and go DI or get drafted,” Bonds said.
Bonds is 17-7 as a starting pitching in his high school career with a 1.71 ERA. He’s struck out 244 in 151 2-3 innings pitched. He’s a .315 hitter with nine home runs and 66 RBIs in 111 games.
Wharton and Alvarez are both headed to Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville. Wharton, a sure-handed second baseman, has been on the SHS varsity team the past three seasons and produced 29 RBIs. Alvarez, an outfielder, scored 15 runs and drove in 10 in his senior campaign.
Morrill, who has some good stats as a hitter (.281 career average, three home runs) and pitcher (59 2-3 innings, 87 strikeouts, 3.17 ERA) the past two seasons, is headed south to Bradenton to play at State College of Florida, Manatee.
“I chose SCF because it’s where I fit the most and it felt like home,” said Morrill. “I want to get a degree in criminal justice and go further in baseball.”
Wadford signed with Florida State College of Jacksonville and plans to study sports medicine. He played the past two seasons on varsity and sports a .292 average with 21 extra-base hits and 37 RBIs. Pickles, a strong-armed catcher who played two varsity seasons, signed with Enterprise State College.
Hall starred at running back for the football team the past three seasons and rushed for 1,133 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior.
Hall was named the Offensive MVP at the FACA Senior All Star game.
“I chose Dodge City because its away from home and I needed a fresh start. And to get a better view of the world,” Hall said.
Burch made a big impact on the soccer field the past four seasons at Suwannee and has garnered MVP and offensive MVP honors for the Bulldogs.
She’s been an outstanding goal scorer — Burch netted 32 goals as a sophomore — and a playmaker with her passes.
“It’s a smaller school, Division III, so they have a lot smaller class sizes,” Burch said of Methodist. “And the culture there is really cool. All the athletes know each other; it’s a a tight-knit, family-like feel.”
Ulmer, who was part of Interact and the Beta Club at SHS in addition to playing for the basketball team, signed with FAU.
The 6-foot-8 forward said it was a good fit academically and athletically.
“My goals are to finish with a PHD and contribute as much as I can to the team.”