As we enter a new year, there are many things to keep an eye on in the local sports world. Take some time to follow up on a few sports stories of note in 2010.
On Feb. 3, the nation's top high school football players will sign on the dotted line. The past couple of years, Columbia County has had a large number of football signees.
Of the county products who will get offers, I am interested to see if Grovetown running back Seth Hill and Evans back Jonathan Finch get a shot at the next level. Hill rushed for more than 3,000 yards during the past two seasons. Finch also is a career 3,000-yard back.
Baseball season is always fun in Columbia County. Most years there is a legitimate state title contender. This year I am interested in several storylines.
Can Greenbrier contend for a crown?
The Wolfpack might not have big names like Rich Poythress, Jeff Rowland, Brandon Cumpton or Nolan Belcher on the roster, but that does not mean the cupboard is bare. Second-year coach Chris Wilkins has four college signees, and at least one more player will sign for sure.
Of the five college-bound players, four will play at Division I programs. Shawn McCain (Winthrop), Ben Morgan (Georgia Southern), Chad Farmer (Appalachian State), and Sam Daniel (USC Aiken) signed in the November early signing period, and Blake Ross will ink a Division I deal, too.
Will Tevin Nelson have a breakout year?
Don't get me wrong, the talented Evans outfielder has already been pretty darn good for the pin-stripers.
First, Nelson earned top prospect honors back in the summer of 2006 at the Columbia County middle school all-star game. Then, he burst onto the high school scene as a freshman when he got some action in the state playoffs for Evans. The following year he was the county's only sophomore to be named First Team All-County after he hit.356 and swiped nine bases in 10 attempts for the Knights.
Last season, Nelson was solid for the Knights, but I have high expectations for this kid. I think he is capable of dominating games with his speed and ability in the outfield.
Following college baseball will be fun once again in 2010. I cannot wait to catch a few games in Atlanta and Columbia this season.
In Atlanta, Cumpton and Rowland will each play key roles for Georgia Tech. In Columbia, Belcher will try to build on a freshman campaign that saw him earn SEC All-Freshman Team honors for South Carolina.
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