The 2013 Greenwood Eagles’ football team accomplished things never seen within the program’s illustrious history. The senior class won 50 games in four years, a record that dated back to 1946-1949. Going 15-0 and capturing the Division II, 4A State Championship, the Eagles completed the first undefeated season in program history.
Seven players from that record-setting squad - Davon Durant, Evin Sims, Daniel Darling, Lorenzo Mathis, Aaron Broadwater, Buck Ware and David Shavoy Davis - took the next step in their respective careers Wednesday afternoon at Greenwood High School, signing their National Letters of Intent to play college football. The journey started in preseason workouts, according to Greenwood Defensive Coordinator Tony Temple.
“When this senior class came in as rising freshmen, it was my first year as a coordinator and also Coach (Gene) Cathcart’s first year,” Temple said. “We felt like they were a very special group of kids. In the offseason, we didn’t know Buck (Ware) was coming, but I pulled the other six guys aside, and told them, ‘You are our leaders. Whether you want to be or not, you are the face of our football team, we go as you go.’ They did a great job stepping up in the offseason and are a great group of kids. God has blessed us with winning a State Championship and given these young men this opportunity.”
Durant, a Shrine Bowl Selection and Blue-Gray All-American game participant, signed to play at Butler Community College in Kansas. The cousin of former Greenwood High School and University of South Carolina standout D.J. Swearinger, Durant hopes to make his way to the Gamecock program after one year playing for the Butler Grizzlies. The star linebacker has also been receiving interest from Georgia and Tennessee, among others.
“I am going there (Butler) to get my grades together,” Durant said. “Hopefully I’ll go up there and win some, then make my way to Carolina.”
Sims, the reigning Division II, 4A State Offensive Player of the Year, received interest as an athlete from a few Division I schools, but chose to sign with Lenoir-Rhyne, where he was offered as a quarterback. According to the former Eagles’ signal caller, the chance to play in the Bears’ double wing offense, where he racked up 1,075 yards and 25 touchdowns during his senior year for the Eagles’, attracted him to his new team.
“I feel like there will be a comfort level there,” Sims said. “It will be a good opportunity for me to be able to play in the same system we ran at Greenwood.”
Darling, who participated in the North-South All-Star game, signed to play at the Air Force Academy. According to the 6-foot-3, 270 pound center, he is expecting to be red-shirted his freshman year.
“I’ll probably be red-shirted my first year,” Darling said. “I’ll hopefully get bigger and stronger, learn the offense, and compete for a spot my sophomore year.”
Mathis, also a North-South All-Star game participant, will join the Charleston Southern University program, where he was recruited as a running back.
“I’m comfortable playing wherever they need me,” Mathis said. “I played both ways at Greenwood, but they (Charleston Southern) made it clear they want me as a running back; they really like my speed. I’m willing to do whatever I need to do to help my team.”
Broadwater, who was a primary target at wide receiver for the Eagles’, will join the North Greenville University Crusaders in the fall. According to the 6-foot-4 wide receiver, the opportunity to play right away drew him to the small institution in Tigerville, S.C.
“I was the top receiver they were recruiting,” Broadwater said. “They have what I want to major in, mathematics and engineering, so it was just a good fit. I’m hoping to go up there and compete for a spot.”
Ware, an Emerald High School transfer, is set to join the North Carolina Central defensive line next fall.
“I really like the defense they run, the 3-4,” Ware said. “I went and visited and got a good feel for all of the players and loved the coaches. It’s a great fit for me.”
Davis, often described by Greenwood Head Coach Gene Cathcart as “the battering ram” of the Eagles’ potent double wing rushing attack, will play fullback for the Newberry College Wolves in the fall. As Davis reflected upon his young career, the former Eagles’ fullback explained that all the players involved are each realizing a life-long dream of playing college football.
“It feels tremendous,” Davis said. “Now that I know that I’ve signed, it’s time to go work that much harder so that I’m ready to play at the next level.”