A two-hour delay to the start of school wasn’t the only excitement that took place at Jefferson County High School on Wednesday morning.
Wednesday was the first day that high school athletes could sign their letters of intent and four Patriots did just that.
Ryan Potts, Tanner Woods, Cami Mincey and Mikayla Alvey each signed to play at their respected colleges for the next four years.
Potts was the first athlete to sign on Wednesday, putting his signature on his letter of intent to play baseball at Carson-Newman.
For Potts, it was an easy decision.
“They have the career path that I want, and I have been watching the baseball team play since I was little,” Potts said. “I’ve always loved the school. It’s a pretty exciting day. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to sign like this. It’s been pretty cool.”
Potts had a breakout season in 2019 and was named to the District 2-AAA All-Tournament squad after the Patriots won the district title. He was also named to the Tennessee Baseball Report All-Region team.
Potts is expected play outfield for the Eagles and head coach Zach Reese is sure he’ll make a big splash immediately.
“He (Potts) is going to be a four-year starter,” Reese said. “He’s ready to go play there. He looks the part, he’s an unbelievable athlete and he’s learned to not just be an athlete but be a baseball player. Once he gets into a college weight room and has that college nutrition, the sky is the limit.”
While Jeff County and Potts get ready for the season to start, Potts has things he would like to work on that will not only help the Patriots team this year, but will help the Eagles squad when he joins them next season.
“I’ve been in the weight room a lot,” Potts said. “I’ve been trying to get my grades right. I’m just trying to do everything so that I can be eligible come college time. I am very excited for my senior season.”
Coming off a breakout junior season, Woods signed on Wednesday to play for King University where he will battle for the starting catcher position.
The decision wasn’t hard for Woods, who was looking for a chance to go to a college program where he could step onto the field early.
“It gave me the best chance to play immediately,” Woods said. “I liked how it was small, there’s like 5,000 people there, it’s pretty and it’s on the Tennessee-Virginia line so it’s five minutes from Virginia. It’s far enough to make my own decisions but close enough so that I can come home when I need to. I’m a really big believer in family, so I like to come home when I can.”
Like Potts, Woods was also named to the 2019 District 2-AAA All-Tournament team last season and has started at catcher for the Patriots since his sophomore year.
While his defense was always there, Reese said it was Woods offense that carried the Jefferson County team last season.
“Up there, he (Potts) can no doubt catch there on day one,” Reese said. “He’s been phenomenal. Last year, our pitchers got better as the year went on and that had a lot to do with him (Woods). He calls pitches a lot and that is a more advanced things, so that is why he’ll go up there next year and could start.”
While Wednesday was an exciting day for Woods, it was a day that, at one point in time, he didn’t think would happen.
“I actually didn’t know if I was going to play baseball or not in college,” Woods said. “But then I kept thinking that I didn’t know if I could live with myself if I didn’t at least try and give it a shot. So, I just had to do it, so I am pretty excited about this shot.”
Cami Mincey – King University
Mincey was the lone volleyball player to sign at Jefferson County, joining King University as a setter.
Having offers from different colleges, it was her visit to King that really sealed the deal and convinced her to sign there.
“Once I visited there for the first time, I thought that this is where I wanted to be for the next four years,” Mincey said. “I love the atmosphere, I love the girls and I love the coaches. I just think that I will really enjoy it there.”
Mincey will enter King with a lot of confidence and momentum, coming off a senior season that saw the Lady Patriots win the District title for the first time in school history.
Now, instead of stressing out where to go to school, Mincey can relax and focus on getting ready to play at King.
“I think it’s better knowing where you are going, so that you are not stressed all the time,” Mincey said. “I am very glad that I chose King because there were other options that I could have gone to, but I think that King University is where I need to be going for four years.”
Now, as Mincey prepares to play at King, she feels that the best way to get ready for college volleyball is simple; playing more volleyball.
‘I am just going to keep playing volleyball, I’m going to being doing travel throughout May,” Mincey said. “I’m just going to be keeping my skills up, and I am also going to be taking nursing classes because that’s what I want to major in.”
Mckayla Alvey – Lipscomb
After being committed for over a year, Alvey finally fulfilled her dream, signing to play softball with Lipscomb on Wednesday.
The decision was not hard for Alvey as she is excited to get to Lipscomb and begin her college career.
“Lipscomb was a good Christian school, and that is where I wanted to be,” Alvey said. “I love the campus and the coaches. I love the family atmosphere and how it felt when I was there.”
Alvey will be playing shortstop for Lipscomb a spot that she held down on Jefferson County’s Class AAA state championship team last season.
Now, Alvey must get ready to compete at Lipscomb and feels there’s plenty to work on before she arrives at college.
“I need to work on my hitting,” Alvey said. “My defense is pretty good, I still need to work on it, but I need to work on my hitting. I need to work on slapping and placing the ball exactly where I want to.”
For now, Alvey and the Lady Patriots have a lot to live up to in 2020, and she is focused on her final year at Jefferson County.
“We had a big year last year, so this year I am going to play the best that I can, help my teammates in any way I can and hopefully we can make it as far as last year,” Alvey said.