Briarwood Christian stars commit ahead of signing day

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

Briarwood Christian School seniors Canon Smith and Preston Pittman are the latest Shelby County high school football standouts to announce their decisions ahead of National Signing Day, which is Feb. 1.

Canon Smith, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end, recently pledged to play college football at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. Preston Pittman, a 6-foot-2, 290-pound offensive lineman, plans to play college football at Mercer University in Macon, Ga.

Smith, who is currently preparing for the U.S.A. vs. The World International Bowl in Austin, Texas, chose Liberty over scholarship offers from Central Arkansas, South Alabama and Samford.

Smith said he chose Liberty mainly for two reasons, head coach Turner Gill and Liberty’s School of Communications.

“This will be the best place to prepare me for a future in sports broadcasting and marketing,” Smith said.

Smith and his U.S.A. teammates will face the World team in the all-star game Feb. 1 at 5 p.m. The game will be televised live nationally on the CBS College Sports Network.

Pittman recently chose Mercer, which is re-establishing its program after a 70-year absence. Pittman’s first season with the Bears will also be the program’s first in 2013.

Fourteen Shelby County high school football standouts have now committed to sign college football scholarships Feb. 1.

Spain Park High School senior Chris Humes, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound cornerback, recently committed to the University of Arkansas.

Shelby County High School senior Mike Pate, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound tight end who also played on the offensive and defensive lines during his high school career, will join Chelsea High School senior Joey Mock in signing with the Air Force Academy. Mock, a 6-foot-5, 244 pound defensive end, verbally committed to play college football at Air Force last September.

Oak Mountain High School senior Bradley Bostick, a 5-foot-6, 155-pound running back, made a verbal pledge to play at Navy earlier in the week.

Briarwood Christian School senior Ben Craft, a 6-foot-2, 197-pound quarterback, became the first Shelby County product to commit to the Blazers in the Class of 2012 in July. Chelsea High School senior Jake Ganus, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound quarterback/safety, committed to UAB three days later.

Spain Park High School defensive backs Destin Challenger, a 5-foot-11, 213-pound safety, and Devon Brown, a 5-foot-11, 182-pound cornerback, both committed to the Blazers in early August.

All four players remained committed to UAB following the resignation of head coach Neil Callaway last month. Garrick McGee, who spent last season as the offensive coordinator at the University of Arkansas, was hired as the Blazers’ new coach in early December.

Pelham High School senior Jacob Forehand, a 6-foot-6, 275-pound offensive tackle, became McGee’s first commitment at the school in early December.

Spain Park High School senior Justin Carter, a 6-foot, 200-pound defensive back, is committed to Rice University.

Briarwood Christian School senior Kalan Reed, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound defensive back, is committed to Southern Mississippi University.

In addition to the Football Bowl Subdivision commitments, Spain Park High School senior offensive lineman Ben Tamburello has verbally committed to Samford University. The 6-foot-3, 285-pound center plans to sign with the Bulldogs next month.