5 ECHS student athletes sign to play at next level today
Published 11:42 am Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Five Escambia County High School student athletes signed to play at the next level today at a National Signing Day ceremony in the school auditorium.
Kaiden Arnold signed to play football at Jacksonville State University; Carmelo Turner signed to play football at Miles College; Anthony McCants signed to play football at Goode Elite Prep; Jumarcus Lee signed to play football at Mississippi Prep; and C’Anna Betts signed to play women’s basketball at Coastal Alabama Community College in Bay Minette.
Principal Kike Pettaway wished each student athlete the best of luck in the coming seasons.
“Come back and be a mentor,” Pettaway said. “Give back to your community.”
ECHS athletic director and head football coach Vincent Harris commended all of his assistant coaches in attendance for their contributions in getting each of the signees where they are today.
“I love you fellas,” Harris said. “Y’all do so much for these kids.”
Before the signings, English teacher Stephanie McGhee, Science teacher Talia Wright and CTE, JAG, Robotics, NAF and girls athletics teacher Stephanie Buitron said a few encouraging words.
“Y’all are my heart,” McGhee said. “I’m excited for you in the next chapter you’re about to take on.”
McGhee said each has been through a lot, and each them have persevered.
“Everyone has a future, everyone has a purpose,” she said.
Wright encouraged the signees to never forget the fight, tears, struggle and everything that went on to get them to this moment.
Buitron said each have potential to do some great things.
“They all have that potential,” Buitron said. “Follow your path as each are exceptional athletes.”
Prior to each revealing where they’re playing at the next level, coaches made introductions.
Girls basketball coach Devon Robinson said it’s been a privilege to coach Betts, and to help guide her in her journey.
“Escambia County is behind you,” Robinson said.
Betts thanked God, and her support system.
Defensive line coach Joel Gonzalez introduced Lee, noting that he was a utility type player.
“Anything you ask that kid to do, he did,” Gonzalez said.
Lee thanked his coaches and teammates for their support in getting him to where he is today before announcing his decision.
Assistant coach Raymond Robinson said McCants, or “Ant,” has always been a perfectionist, and is a great kid to coach.
“I just want to thank my parents for always believing in me,” McCants said. “I love y’all.”
Assistant coach Marcus Bradley thanked Turner’s support system for allowing them to coach their loved one.
“Thank you for letting me coach Carmelo,” Bradley said.
Turner thanked his coaches for believing in him, and the school administration.
Before Arnold announced his decision to play college football at JSU, Harris told a couple stories about the 6-foot-7, 345-pound player.
“That kid does anything I ask him to do,” Harris said.
Harris recalled the first time he met Arnold, adding he asked him to get in a three-point stance.
Harris said Arnold complied, and then shook his hand, introducing him as his new head football coach.
“You told me when I first started that you wanted to go (Division 1),” Harris said. “I hope you’re happy with your decision because you deserve it.”
An emotional Arnold thanked God, and his coaches for helping him get to this opportunity.
Assistant football coaches in the crowd shouted words of support and encouragement before Arnold made his decision.
“With all that being said, I’m signing with Jacksonville State University,” Arnold said as the crowd cheered.
Arnold chose JSU over Alabama A&M, Alabama State University, Coastal Carolina, Indiana, East Carolina and South Alabama.