By Anthony Rhoads
Lovejoy's success on the football field of late certainly has translated to the college game.
The Wildcats have a plethora of former players who are now on college rosters.
Some of those players include Ray and Ethan (Columbia), Antonio Huffman (Texas Tech), Chris Hough (Tennessee Chattanooga), DeRae Allen (Western Michigan), Jack Battle (Bowling Green), Tashard Choice (Oklahoma), Jermaine Copelan (Grambling), Michael Heard (Mississippi State), Dontrelle Henry (Clark Atlanta), Greg Petty (Valdosta State), Todd Springfield (East Carolina), Dyran Williams (Cisco), Alton Barfield and Jason McNeill (Mesabi Range), Andre Hughley (Maryville), Darin Mitchell (Notre Dame), Keith Staple (Troy State), Matt Wilson (Belhaven), Dee Durham (Tuskegee) and Antoine Huffman (Kentucky).
"This is a great area for kids to go to the next level," Lovejoy head coach Al Hughes said. "According to some college recruiters that have been here, they say it is one of the best areas in the state. We're obviously excited and happy for those kids."
Others local players continuing careers in college include:
Mt. Zion: Mt. Zion has also sent several players to the collegiate ranks including J.R. McNair, who is one of the leading rushers at Wofford, a top-25 team in Division I-AA.
Some other former Mt. Zion players who are playing college football include Roger Stewart (Valdosta State), Jacob Fletcher (Johnson C. Smith), Clyde Tripplett and David Fisher (Samford), Ryan Coggins (Tennessee-Chattanooga), Jamie Aull and George Wilkerson (West Georgia) and Chris Kirk (Jacksonville State).
North Clayton: Former North Clayton standout D.J. Shockley has been a back-up to David Greene at Georgia the last two seasons but Shockley is out for rest of the year. Shockley suffered a leg injury in this year's Tennessee game.
Shockley isn't the only former North Clayton standout to go to a Division I-A program. Kenley Horton is now at Toledo and is a wide receiver there. Donnay Young is in his senior season at Auburn.
Some other former North Clayton players in college now are Aric Williams (Tuskegee) and Corey Braddy (West Georgia).
Riverdale: The Duke football team this year features two former Riverdale standouts including Kevin Wilson and Cedric Mason.
Some other Riverdale players in college now include Kerrick Cooper (West Virginia State), Lakyle Thomas (Ft. Valley State), Andrico Hines (Middle Tennessee State), Ahmard Wright (West Georgia) and Erwin Equihua (Morehouse).
Forest Park: Some Forest Park alumni playing college football this year include Tyrone Baisden (Tennessee-Chattanooga), Tory Oglesby and Michael Robinson (Morehouse).
Jonesboro: Some former Jonesboro standouts now at the college level include Harry Douglas (Louisville), Darrell Copeland (Western Michigan), Kenyari Addison (Mars Hill) and Neal Bell (West Georgia).
Union Grove: In high school, quarterback Joey Waters helped lead the Union Grove Wolverines to a Region 5-AA championship and a trip to the Class AA state tournament last year.
This year at Union College, an NAIA school in Kentucky, Waters leads the team in passing yardage even though he isn't starting.
"He's doing real well," Union Grove head coach Scott Mason said. "He's kind of disappointed he's not starting."
Two other Union Grove alumni are also in their freshmen seasons at Union College including running back Antonio High and wide receiver Ryan Chambers. Both are being red-shirted this season.
"A lot of attention is given to guys who go on to D-1 programs but there's a place to play if you want to play at the next level," Mason said. "There's a place to everybody. It's a testimony to their hard work and it says a lot about their character."
The three players at Union College are not the only former Union Grove players at the next level. Nick Ellis and Edward Gadson are at Charleston Southern and Jay Maurice is at Kentucky Wesleyan.
Eagle's Landing: Kenny Griffin is at Troy State, Jonathan Wright is at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and Terry McMillan is at Fort Valley State.
Stockbridge: Pierre Ingram is at Middle Tennessee State, Craig Melton is at Tennessee Tech and Brian Melton is at Valdosta State and Joe Clark and David Canup are at West Georgia.
Henry County: Henry County graduates Daniel Powell and Manuel Goodman are at Mesabi Range Junior College in Minnesota. Mesabi Range is one of the top-ranked junior college programs in the nation.
Note: This is not meant to be a comprehensive list but just a sampling of former Southern Crescent high school players who are now at the collegiate level.