Lexington County athletes participate in 2024 National Signing Day

Posted 2/15/24

52 athletes from 10 schools signed up to become the next class of Lexington County representatives in collegiate athletics.

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Lexington County athletes participate in 2024 National Signing Day


In an auditorium full of friends and family, four White Knoll High School athletes sat center stage and achieved a goal only a small percentage of students earn.

Austin Cunningham, Jaiden Kimble, Hasan Lee Jr. and Robbie Murphy signed their National Letters of Intent last week, making their college commitments official. Cunningham, Kimble and Lee Jr. all committed for football, while Murphy will play baseball.

“Ever since I was a little kid I had dreams and aspirations of playing college football, and the fact that I’m up here and finally get to do it, it feels good,” Lee said.

These four and 48 other athletes from nine other schools will be the next class of Lexington County representatives in the world of college sports.

Before the White Knoll players signed their letters football coach Nick Pelham stepped up to the podium and talked about each player at length. Pelham mentioned each player’s contributions to their teams, their desire to play in college, as well as the skills each player possesses that will help them succeed, among others.

“We’ve been working together for over a thousand days, and we’ve built some pretty good relationships,” Pelham said. “You don’t realize how much you depend on guys like those three and the rest of our twenty-nine seniors until you walk in the weight room and they’re not there.”

Cunningham committed to Western Carolina, Kimble to Kennesaw State and Lee to Charleston Southern.

Pelham had high praise for Kimble calling him “possibly the best player in White Knoll history.” Kimble said he thinks his mentality will make him a successful college player.

“My winning mentality really pushed me through everything,” Kimble said.

Cunningham committed as a preferred walk-on to Western Carolina because of the campus and the vibe he got from the coaches.

“It was amazing,” Cunningham said. “Like everything we worked for had been approved … I appreciate that Western will continue to take a shot on me.”

Lee said Charleston Southern was the right choice to make after weighing all his options and is excited about the possibility of playing next season.

“Ultimately it came down to where I can play the fastest and money for school,” Lee said. “I got a full-ride scholarship, so all my school books, housing are paid for. So that ultimately played a huge role in the decision because it’s always great to not have any student loan debts.”

While signing day is the culmination of an individual athlete’s high school achievements, the journey to this point has evolved as the college sports landscape continues to see dramatic changes.

Pelham talked about the difficulties in the recruiting process for high school athletes with the transfer portal. The portal has split a coach’s focus between freshmen and transfers, prolonging the process.

“It’s very frustrating because 10 years ago, a guy like Austin Cunningham gets a lot of interest,” Pelham said.

However, he also noted the changes aren’t all negative. He said the opportunity to capitalize on name, image and likeness and use the transfer portal will allow them to find their best fit now while keeping their futures open.

“All you have to do is have a chance in college football right now. If you get a chance, it doesn’t matter what level. It doesn’t matter what position. If you perform, you’re gonna have a chance to move up levels. You’re gonna have a chance to stay there and make some money,” Pelham said. “There are some opportunities for kids that weren’t there before with the transfer portal … and as long as you get a chance, it doesn’t matter where you start, it matters what you do when you get to play.”

Elsewhere around the County, Irmo and Dutch Fork tied for most signees with 11 each.

Dutch Fork football player and South Carolina State signee, Tyler Jones is following in the footsteps of his father, a former Bulldog himself.

“He tells me all the time, he wants me to exceed what he’s doing, and I feel like me being behind him, I can also follow in his footsteps and also keep it going,” Jones said.

Jones said his time at Dutch Fork and with coach Knotts prepared him for the next level. One thing he’ll miss is the bond he shared with his high school coaches and teammates.

“I’ll always remember past players that graduated above me, the ones that are still playing and the ones I’m graduating with,” Jones said.

The Silver Foxes had seven total football signees and four lacrosse signees.

Lexington County 2024 signing day list


Jesse Ray Hoover (Golf) - USC Sumter 

Victoria Powell (Acrobatics/Tumbling) - Limestone 


Tucker Bolen (Football) - Presbyterian 


Harrison Sonnefeld (Football) - Muskingum 

Weldon Gunter (Football) - Charleston Southern 

Chase Cline (Golf) - Western Carolina

Abigail White (Track) - USC

Evelyn Patrick (Track) - Coastal Carolina

Dutch Fork

Jadon Cook (Football) - Catawba

Jacob Hamilton (Football) -  Charlotte

Tyler Jones (Football) - SC State

Dakota Jordan (Football) - Anderson

Trenton Lodge (Football) - Johnson C. Smith

Camden Myers (Football) - Western Carolina

Terrance Wells (Football) - The Citadel

Jayzel Boyd (Lacrosse) - Coker

Leah Corley (Lacrosse) - Coker

Grant Dupree (Lacrosse) - Limestone

Ashley Grogen (Lacrosse) - Converse


Caleb Alexander (Football) - Lenoir-Rhyne 

Ja’Vares Brown (Football) - Benedict 

Demarkio Campbell (Football) - Hutchinson 

Jylil Favor (Football) - Catawba 

Bryant Ham (Football) - Coastal Carolina 

Marquell Lewis (Football) - Union, Kentucky  

Telvin Smith (Football) - Union, Kentucky

Payton McNeely (Lacrosse) - Coker

Lyrical Bennett (Softball) - Campbell

Emmanuel Gadson (Swimming) - Cornell

Dakota Jordan (Acrobatics/Tumbling) - Limestone


Drake Braddock (Football) - Limestone

Gray Collegiate 

Jamarious Lockett (Football) - Newberry 

Zai Offord (Football) - South Carolina State 

Charlie Scarborough (Football) - Charleston Southern 

Ellis Graham (Basketball) - Charleston Southern 

Madelyn Hamilton (Cheer) - Erskine 

McKenzie  Mathis (Softball) - College of Charleston

Abigail Davidson (Acrobatics/Tumbling) - Presbyterian 


Tyler DeRienzo (Football) - The Citadel

Taiden Mines (Football) - Lenoir-Rhyne

Christian Sexton (Football) - Anderson

Cam Sutton (Football) - The Citadel

Elizabeth Covington (Track) - Lander

Gavin Guyton (Track) - Presbyterian 

Kade Jeffries (Track) - Francis Marion

River Bluff

Alexandria Mack (Golf) - Newberry

Anna Reese Rankin (Lacrosse) - Lander 

Katie Westbrook (Lacrosse) - Lander

White Knoll

Austin Cunningham (Football) - Western Carolina 

Jaiden Kimble (Football) - Kennesaw State

Hasan Lee Jr. (Football) - Charleston Southern

Robbie Murphy (Baseball) - USC Union 

National Signing Day, White Knoll football, Austin Cunningham, Jaiden Kimble, Hasan Lee Jr., Robbie Murphy, Dutch Fork football, Tyler Jones


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