Dawson County High School seniors and football program stars Zac Baloga, Logan Barnes, SeVaughn Clark and Ryan Glass celebrated National Signing Day by formally committing to play at the college level during a brief ceremony Wednesday.
The four represented the largest group of Tigers to sign on National Signing Day from the Dawson County football program in school history. A large number of students, family and friends gathered at the Performing Arts Center to celebrate their achievements.
Each young man signed papers sending him to the next level, with Baloga committing to play at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, Barnes finalizing his decision to play at Wofford College, Clark accepting a preferred walk-on sport in the University of Georgia’s running back program and Glass taking his skillset to Berry College.
In his opening remarks, Head Coach Sid Maxwell talked about the impact that the group had on the football program as he recounted a brief history of each players’ career. All had served as team captains all four years with the team.
“I could talk all day about what they’ve done for the program, and they’ve done a lot,” Maxwell said. “10-2 last season and 35-13 over the last four years and they were a big part of that. I’m blessed to have known them. I’m blessed to have coached them, and I’m excited for what they have ahead of them.”
Last season’s star quarterback, Clark started the day by accepting a preferred walk-on slot with the UGA Bulldogs as a running back. Clark turned down offers from multiple schools to have the opportunity to battle for a roster spot with one of the best running back programs in the nation under Dell McGee.
“It’s something I have got to work for, but it will be well worth it,” Clark said. “I’m just ready to be a Dawg.”
Clark is the son of Mark and Kimberly, who commemorated the event by passing out a dog tag embossed with their son’s name and the date on one side and the UGA ‘G’ logo on the reverse.
Barnes took the floor next, flanked by his parents Greg and Kim, and formally signed his papers to play in the defensive backfield of the Wofford Terriers.
Barnes led the Tigers from his strong safety position with 115 tackles during his final season and was drafted as a middle linebacker due to his demonstrated run-stopping ability.
“Wofford just kind of checked all the boxes, a top-tier education along with a good football program,” Barnes said. “They changed me to middle linebacker, so I just have to get bigger. Just going to come in everyday and work.”
In an emotional moment for the family, defensive lineman Zac Baloga signed his letter of intent to play with the UVA-Wise Cavaliers. Baloga lost his mother at the beginning of his high school career at the age of 14, and as he signed the papers sending him to next level flanked by his brothers and his father, Tigers Defensive Line Coach Gregory Baloga, the group shared a private moment.
Gregory Baloga then said how special this moment was to both him and his son.
“He lost his mom when he was 14,” Baloga said. “To do what he has been able to do is tremendous. A 3.3 GPA and now a scholarship to college. I’m just very proud of him.”
Signing his papers last, wide receiver Glass accepted a scholarship with Berry College out of Mount Berry, having followed the advice of his father, Alex Glass, who told him that he needed to find a school that presented him with academic opportunities in addition to football.
“I told him that he needed to go somewhere that gave him the chance at playing time,” Alex Glass said. “But valued academics more.”
Ryan Glass stood with his mother, Lori Woodward, and expressed most of his excitement over the business and political science programs available at Berry that would allow him to pursue his goal of attending law school upon graduation.
As he talked about his future, Glass paused a moment to look around the room at his friends and teammates, and the finality of the day seemed to catch up with him for a second as he realized that his time a Dawson County Tiger was officially at its end.
“I was one of the first kids in the program when Coach Maxwell got here, and there are only, like, 10 of the 30 of us left,” Glass said. “I feel like we really helped build a winning future for the program.”