By R. Alan Richardson sports editor
The gridiron Dogs had a signing party for four members of their 2015 football squad on Wednesday in the Freshman Academy cafeteria. It was standing room only as students were allowed to attend the event along with parents, relatives, teachers, coaches, and administrators. Dakoda Ruby, Trey Chapman, Tyler Benford, and Quincy Jones were honored on signing day as they accepted offers from two different universities. Chapman will be attending Georgia State while Ruby, Benford, and Jones will all become student-athletes at Reinhardt in Waleska, Georgia.
Head Coach Bill Malone made these statements about these young men, “This was their day so I tried to stay out of the way. All four of these young men have only begun to scratch the surface of their wonderful abilities. I think they will really flourish in college, but it’s up to them to keep building on what they were acclimated to in high school. I’m also proud that they all qualified and received scholarships as well as what they accomplished academically.” Ruby was the first to talk about what it meant to him. “It’s an opportunity to continue my career and play football which is my passion. This is something I’ve always wanted to do and I finally get a chance to actually do it. I’m looking forward to it.”
The 6-5, 325 pounder is projected to play right tackle at Reinhardt. Ruby played offensive and defensive tackle for the Dogs and also punted during his three-year career. The 5-10, 165 pound Benford, a three-year starter for Morgan, was recruited as a defensive back after playing safety, cornerback, slot receiver, and running back for the Dogs. He weighed in on the scholarship, “Honestly it’s an opportunity for me to move on to bigger and better things through football. It’s a tool I can use to further my education. Right now I’m undecided about my major, but after I get my core out of the way, my Mom (Chris Benford) and I will look at our options. I may go into business or coaching because I have such a love for the game. I would like to thank my Mom for pushing me on the importance of my grades and Coach Malone for showing me how much he could help me get to the next level.”
Jones was quick to point out the importance of several people that were instrumental in his development as a student and player. “My Mom (Jackie Hodnett) helped me through everything. I couldn’t have done this without her. I would also like to thank Coach Peaster, Walker, Robbins, and Bell for helping me critique my game and take it to the next level.” The 6-1 speedster played receiver and corner for MCHS as a two-year starter as well as returning kickoffs and punts. He’s most likely going to play receiver at Reinhardt. “All the hard work I’ve put in has paid off. It also means that I get to get a degree if I work hard while playing football for the next four years. I love being around football so this means a lot to me.” Jones plans on majoring in sports management, business, or education/coaching. Chapman is attending Georgia State on a full athletic scholarship.
This versatile athlete played multiple positions including running back, slot receiver, wildcat quarterback, safety, and cornerback in 2015. He was initially recruited as a running back but says he will most likely play corner in college. “I just want to play wherever I can contribute and can get on the field. They already have 4-5 running backs, so it really doesn’t matter to me. The three-year starter talked about his opportunity, “It means a lot to go to school on a full ride where they pay for everything and I get to do what I love most. A free education is very special to me. My Mom pushed me a lot about the importance of education. I’d also like to thank Coach Malone. He’s a hard worker who spends a lot of time with us and taught me so much about life lessons. Coach Peaster was a special coach for me. He was always there for me and a guy I could always go to. He’s who I went to.”