A common theme emerges as coaches and players share thoughts on National Signing Day 2019

East Nashville high School Signees L-R Jalen Knight, Anthony Collier, Jason Watkins, Jaylun Davis, Stanley Cross, and Rondarius Gregory

One of the most exciting moments for a student-athlete and his or her family is receiving a verbal scholarship offer. Years of hard work have led to this moment. However, nothing is official until an athlete signs his or her National Letter of Intent (NLI.)

On Wednesday, February 6th, high schools in Metro Nashville Public Schools held the annual  National Signing Day. 

This is a day many athletes dream of becoming a reality.

While many athletes signed during the early period, MNPS had forty-four athletes sign their official National Letter of Intent. This first step is just the beginning, and was described by Coach Jamaal Stewart as “here the real work begins.”

Not every school uses the NLI—about 650 NCAA DI and DII schools—and it’s not mandatory to sign. Yet if an athlete has worked throughout high school and often longer the NLI have become a one of the first “graduation” moments high schools experience. It is often a celebration with cake and punch where athletes are surrounded by both family, team mates and friends.

Maplewood Signees L-R : Rashawn Dalton, Carl Birdsong, Clint Dowdy, and Travares Springer

What is National Signing Day?

The National Letter of Intent is not affiliated directly with the NCAA; it was created by the Collegiate Commissioners Association to protect both the college and student from either party backing out. Athletes are able to sign Letters of Intent  several different times through out the school year including an early signing period and the regular signing period. Typically the National Signing Day takes place on the first Wednesday of February.

Starting this school year (2018-19), significant updates to the process of signing changes with new rules that are intended to speed up the timeline for seniors.  “In the past, there was an early signing period (usually in November) followed by a break over the holidays (dead period) before signing NLIs resumed in the spring during the regular signing period.” (ncsasports.com).

Fall athletes in 2018 outside of football and men’s and women’s D1 basketball players can begin signing scholarships on November 14, 2018 and continue to sign anytime through August 1, 2019.

While much of the recruiting process happens long before November of your senior year, the fact that athletes will be ending their recruiting by signing NLIs earlier means recruiting in the lower divisions will likely speed up as well.

In the past, NCAA D2, D3 and NAIA schools would wait for D1 programs to complete their recruiting classes before ramping up their signings. Now that D1 schools will be completing their signings earlier, expect all other division levels to be busy over the holidays and early in 2019 instead of mid to late spring.

Hume Fogg Volleyball Signees: Ellie Buffler, volleyball, Trevecca
Kendall Bullock, volleyball, Tennessee State
Ava Smithing, volleyball, Stevens Institute of Technology

“Be grateful, be flexible and keep the excellent student attitude we as coaches have expected you to have  in the classroom and on the field” stated Head Coach Maurice Fitzgerald of Hillsboro High School in his speech to players and family members  at the afternoon signing. “Remember  that h attitude is everything when is comes to moving on to the next level. Attitude is everything and never forget that the word ‘student’ comes before the word ‘athlete’ when you decide to define yourself as a student-athlete. 

Fitzgerald further explained how few athletes have this opportunity to use a talent to further their education. ” Only 1% of high school students playing football in high school are able to sit at a table in front of family and friends” and sign a letter of intent to play for a post secondary school, be it Power 5 or a junior college.

This theme was echoed at every signing that happened through the day. Choosing a school as a recruit is harder than many may know. Cane Ridge High School’s Devon Starling was asked about how hard the process of making this decision can be during the recruiting process.  “Central Arkansas had interest in me but they wanted me too play defense and I feel in my heart that I am a running back. Memphis University kept telling me they were going to find a way to get me in school as a preferred walk on and at running back.”

The NSD event can be either solemn, casual or intimate with coaches sharing insider stories about their players. Clint Dowdy, of Stratford High School was more sure of his decision because the process came down to how the school listened to him and his parents. Choosing a school as a recruit is harder than many may know. “I knew from my first official visit at Tennessee State University that this is where I wanted to not only play football, but also attend classes. Coaches showed both me and my family a lot of love.”

Perhaps the most moving moments at NSD events comes when players are given an opportunity to share in front of their audiences. Players thank coaches, share their appreciation they have for all the coaches have done for them.

Signing a contract is often thought to be the most important but these moments of honesty and gratitude inevitably moving and memorable.

Below are the players from Metro Nashville Public Schools who participated on National Signing Day class of 2019.

Antioch High School 

AJ Williams – Bethel University

Cane Ridge High School

Devon Starling– University of Memphis (Preferred Walk On)

Jacquez Norman– Tulane University

Joy Kabelu– Shorter University

Devon Turner – Grandview University

East Nashville High School

Anthony Collier, Miami University (OH)

Stanley Cross, Iowa Central Community College *^*

Jaylun Davis, Defiance College (OH)

Rondarius Gregory, Northern Illinois University (Preferred Walk-On)

Jalen Knight, San Diego Mesa CC (CA)

Jashon Watkins, University of Memphis

Hillsboro High School

Malachi Jackson – University of the Cumberlands*^*

Harold Jemison– Tennessee State University

Theronne Orr- Lindsey Wilson

Nate Ramirez-University of The Cumberlands

Darius Smith-Jireh Preparatory Academy

Chance Williams-University of the CumberlandsC

Hillwood High School 

Ellie Smith – Maryville College, Soccer

Eric Kinnard – Victor Valley College, Football

Hume Fogg High School (Hillwood HS team)

Avery Bass – Victor Valley College

Erie Lawrence – Victor Valley College

Ellie Buffler, volleyball, Trevecca

Kendall Bullock, volleyball, Tennessee State

Ava Smithing, volleyball, Stevens Institute of Technology

Maplewood High School

Carl Birdsong – University of the Cumberlands

Rashawn Dalton-Bethel University

Clint Dowty-TSU early Signee

Travares Springer-WKU early Signee

Pearl Cohn High School 

Jayden Harrison – Vanderbilt

Mayson Harris – Tennessee State University

Darian Jones – Bethal University

Darryl Rogan – Austin Peay State University

Xavier Sheppard – Kennesaw State University

Elijah Simmons – Tennessee

Darius Willis – Lindsey Wilson University

Stratford High School

Samuel Buckner – Victor Valley Community College

Calvin Farmer – Victor Valley Community College

Jaalon Gupton – Tennessee State University

Rod Reed – Eastern Kentucky University

Queen Robinson,  – North Dakota State College of Science

On’Terrius Smith  – Victor Valley Community College

Tomory Stephens- Cumberland University

Deairrus Waller  – Cumberland University





A New Burro Tradition: Hillsboro’s 5th Quarter Pancake Breakfast

This Friday, January 25th, Hillsboro’s PTSO hosted its very first 5th Quarter  event for students, parents and the entire Hillsboro Community.

Rights Reserved-Hillsboro Globe; Associated Press Madeline Kerr
CRHS 44 – HHS 42 1/24/19

The Burro event which included pancake throwing syrup drinking contests was held during halftime of the girls and boys games against Cane Ridge and following the boys game, 5th Quarter was held in the  cafeteria immediately after the boys game

5th Quarter included an All – You – Can – Eat pancake breakfast featuring pancakes, sausage, orange juice, chocolate milk and water.  The proceeds were a fundraiser for the PTSO

Burros’ Girls and Boys Basketball teams looked to sweep Cane Ridge in their second meeting, however Cane Ridge came in with the advantage winning both the girls game and the boys game. The two point win for Cane Ridge tied them with the Burros for first place in the district

Contact the Hillsboro Globe at [email protected] with questions.

Burro Down Burros! What you need to know about Coming Home Week.

On January, Monday the 14th, through Friday the 18th, Hillsboro High School will be holding their annual Coming Home festivities. Coming Home is a tradition that reverses what we all know to be Homecoming.

The Coming Home celebrates a ‘coming home king’ instead of a ‘homecoming queen’. The 2019 Coming Home attendants are:

Freshman- Jordan Hamilton escorted by Aniya Steele

Sophomore- Eric Holt escorted by Eva Albert Adams

Junior- Duncan St. Clair escorted by Isabel Sanders

Seniors – Javari Henderson escorted byAtlantis Merrell; Malik Baker escorted by DeanaBucio; Prince Mugabo escorted byKennedy Musgrave

The week will be filled with dress up days which are listed below.


Monday: Millionaire Monday

Tuesday: Disney Day


Wednesday: Woke Up Like This Wednesday

Thursday: Flower Power Thursday

Friday: Squad Day

On January, Friday, the 18th, the Lady Burro’s Basketball team will kick off the night playing Overton at home. The game begins at 6:00 PM and the boys will immediately follow playing Overton as well. During the intermission between the girls and boys game, Hillsboro will honor the 2008 – 2009 Hillsboro state championship team. During halftime of the boys game, Coming Home presentations and the crowning of Coming Home King will take place.

At 8:00 PM, “Burro Down”, Hillsboro’s Coming Home dance will begin. It will go till 11:00 PM and the theme is “white out”.

Tickets will go on sale Monday for $10 a person. Make sure you get yours fast because they will sell out.

**dates and times for the dance have been verified

Come out and support your Burro Basketball teams and then head to the dance.

If you have questions, feel free to contact the Hillsboro Globe at [email protected].

Connect with Hillsboro’s PTSO’s Newsletter Here

It’s official! Donald Fitzgerald and Joseph Honeysucker sign Letters of Intent with Division I colleges


ImageHillsboro IB World High School is pleased to announce that Donald Fitzgerald (ATH) and Joseph Honeysucker (DE) will participate in an early signing event on December 19, 2018 at 11:30 in the Hillsboro Library. 

Hillsboro will celebrate both Joseph Honeysucker and Donald Fitzgerald for their academic and athletic successes this year as they finalize their commitments to the universities of their choice.

L-R: Joseph Honeysucker (DE), Hillsboro High School Head Football Coach, Maurice Fitzgerald, Donald Fitzgerald (DT) 12.19.18 (Photo Mike Strasinger)

Donald Fitzgerald  is a St. Thomas Scholar and a senior in the Academy of Global Health and Science.

Trading basketball for football this year, Fitzgerald’s impact as a first year football player is undeniable. He will continue making an impact at Vanderbilt University under Head Coach Derek Mason. Vanderbilt’s class features incoming student-athletes from nine different states that fill 11 different positions across the roster

Donald earned 25 solo tackles and 41 assists for a total of 66 tackles for the 2018 season. He forced 6 turnovers and had 6 sacks for a loss. Fitzgerald narrowed his choices down to Duke, UT and Vandy deciding to become a Commodore less than 2 weeks ago.

Fitzgerald is the AGHS representative to the Meharry Symposium for Scholars. He is a peer tutor and assists with special needs students. He is also is a volunteer ACT Prep for the last three years with In Full Motion. The Department Chair of AGHS, Lonny Nelson, describes Donald as an amazing young man whose optimism is infectious. He is a joy to be around.”

Other Awards

All-City 1st team for 2018

All-Region 6 5A team for 2018.

Donald has made a verbal commitment to Vanderbilt University and will finalize his decision on Wednesday.


Joseph Honeysucker, the 75th  Hume Award winner selected for the 2018 season. The Hume Award is given to only one football scholar each year.

Joseph is a senior in the Academy of Business Communications. Honeysucker  earned 112 total tackles (48 solo/64 assist) for the 2018 season.  He averaged 11 tackles a game for an average of 90 yards in QB hurries. He end his high school career with 37 sacks.

Other Awards:

All-City 1st team, ’17, ’18 HM ‘16

All-Region 1st team ’17, ‘18

East-West 1st team, ‘18

Middle Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Federation and College Hall of Fame  and nominee Admiral William P. Lawrence Award.

Joseph committed earlier in the year to  Memphis University. He invites you to witness his decision to become a Memphis Tiger.

Head Coach Maurice Fitzgerald describes Honeysucker as a “generational player who comes along once in a generation. Every so often God will allow you to  coach a student athlete that you will term a generational player. Joe Honeysucker  is in that class. He is God fearing and humble young man. Joe cares so much about his teammates and the world around him. He is at peace with himself and has a clear understanding of who he is and his purpose in life.”

Joseph is looking forward to playing on Saturday’s in Memphis.




Have a Holly Jolly Christmas! with The Hillsboro Singers

Nothing will bring out the Christmas spirit in a tired and over-worked student like well sung Christmas tunes. Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Christmas themed Hillsboro Singers Choir concert  held in the  Hillsboro High School auditorium.

I embarrassed to admit it, but I had underestimated the enormity of their performance.

I went thinking it would be a small concert and my friends would be pretty-good at singing. But, I was wrong, it was nothing like what I thought it would be and I left the concert so impressed.

The concert was unlike anything I have every experienced.  I guess I thought it would be like a band concert, with instruments like the strings to back up the choir.

Hillsboro Singers at the Holiday Performance 2018. photo credit: Brandon Martinez

However,  it solely focused on the just the vocalists in the choir.  Because the focus was only on the people singing, there was a lot of room for creativity and the stage really sent the tone and mood for anyone who came.

The Hillsboro Singers decorated the stage set and background with sparkling Christmas trees with  “presents underneath the Christmas tree.”

Arriving just before 6:00 gave me an opportunity to take in the setting before the Director Mrs. Ganske welcomed everyone to the show.

Hillsboro Singers at the Holiday Performance 2018. photo credit: Brandon Martinez

As quickly as she exited the stage, the lights went dim and Santa’s Coming to Town started to play.  The choir had everyone singing with by the end of the song.

I definitely did not expect that I would want to sing with the choir, but I sang right along with the rest of the packed house.

Songs such as, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, White Christmas, and Santa Baby were highlights.

One of the most memorable things that happened that night was when the choir sang Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas to the senior English teacher Mrs. Richardson.

It was truly a stunning night hearing all of everyone’s favorite Christmas tunes as well as seeing the dedication of these groups.

Hillsboro Singers at the Holiday Performance 2018. photo credit: Brandon Martinez

The Pops choir, the Chamber, Women’s, and Mixed Choir awed the audience throughout their wardrobe changes and dancing. The solo’s they offered as well as the duets were spot on.

The profits made from the ticket sales are going to benefit the future of choir classes. Future performances are planned for the spring and the Hillsboro Globe highly recommends that you not miss the next performance.

The IB Business Class is presenting, “Hellsboro”, a Holiday themed haunted house

The International Baccalaureate Academy class, IB Business has created its own company, Burro Entertainment Company, from the ground up. Using a business plan in which one of the goals is to hold events that are open to the public and offer students and staff a chance to have a little fun in the midst of all the heavy academic studying that every Burro is entrenched in throughout the year.

To get the special, Burro price, bring a ticket stub from the events from either Thursday or Friday night. Hellsboro, is being held on December 13th and 14th following the already schedules events.

On Thursday night, 7 – 9 pm the last performance of the Hillsboro Singers is in the auditorium and if students bring their choir performance ticket, there is a 2$ discount.

The same discount applies after the girls and boys basketball games. All you need to do to get this special is bring a ticket stub from the events from either Thursday or Friday night.

Recently the Hillsboro Globe had an opportunity to chat with two BEC members, Caleb Ellis and Alyssa Wood about the new company.

Mr. Porter is the adviser to the company, and agrees that students need more opportunities to have interesting clean fun at school. The Burro Entertainment Company wants to offer fun events because the construction has dampened our opportunities to have regular pep rallies, events on a football field and other after school activities that require a space of grass.

The winter themed haunted house might be a strange idea, but it’s a start to try to put on events that a little different and it is only the first of such planned events. This is one of many ideas coming to Hillsboro presented by the Burro Entertainment Company such as a talent show, sports day, and song-a-grams!

If you have what you think think is a great idea for an event – pass it along to Mr. Porter. Remember to take it seriously, write down your contact information and a brief description what the event might be.


If you want to reach out to the Burro Entertainment they have an instagram: @Burroentertainmentco

Upcoming Choral Concerts

Please join us this holiday season as the HHS singers perform their annual winter concerts:  the Winter Choral Concert and “A Very Burro Christmas”.  Both performances will be held in the auditorium at Hillsboro High School.

The Winter Choral Concert is Tuesday, December 11th at 6 PM and features the following choirs: Pops, Chamber, Women’s, and Mixed Choir.

A Very Burro Christmas,” is on Wednesday, December 12th and Thursday, December 13th at 6 PM. This concert features the Pops Choir as well as Hillsboro’s new Jazz Ensemble.

The performance will include everything from solos to group performances – all to get you in the holiday spirit for just $5!

Janelle Ganske, the choir director and all of her students have worked hard to prepare these special arrangements for our Community.  Proceeds from “A Very Burro Christmas” will benefit Hillsboro’s Choral Program.

Mark your calendars this week to see one of the many great programs Hillsboro has to offer.

Follow the Hillsboro Choir’s Instagram @hhssingers or check out hillsborosingers.com for pictures, videos and more information.  

Contact the Hillsboro Globe at [email protected] for any additional questions.

The 2018 Hume trophy is awarded December 6, 2018

L-R: Hale Page, Hillwood; Sid Souksangouane, Hunters Lane; Joseph Honeysucker, Hillsboro; Jayden Harrison, Pearl-Cohn/MLK and Devon Starling, Cane Ridge.

NASHVILLE, Tenn – Today following a luncheon at Swett’s Restaurant hosted by the Nashville Civilian Club, Joseph Honeysucker from Hillsboro High school was named as the 2018 recipient of the prestigious Hume Award. Honeysucker recently committed to Memphis University to play football.

The Hume Award recognizes the most outstanding football player in Metro School in the areas of sportsmanship, scholarship, and football ability. The Hume Award has been given since 1944.

Joseph Honeysucker holding the Hume Award Trophy flanked by his parents at Swetts Restaurant December 6, 2018.

Honeysucker expressed his shock and surprise after winning and having the trophy presented. “I was super-surprised and humbled, even shocked that I was the winner because I know of all the candidates and they are super deserving. To be listed as the 75 name inscribed on the trophy along with other heavy hitters like Coach Reggie Grimes and Coach Jamie Stewart is such an honor. I mean,  to be listed forever is a great honor.”

Each Metro School nominates one player, and then the nominees are reviewed by a committee composed of school administrators, football officials, and area sportswriters. There is always a sense of anticipation before the announcement because though the committee member knows who he or she voted for during the finalist selection, no one on the committee knows who their fellow committee members voted.

Five finalists were named before today’s ceremony. Joining Honeysucker as a finalist were Devon Starling, Cane Ridge; Hale Page, Hillwood; Sid Souksangouane, Hunters Lane, and Jayden Harrison, Pearl-Cohn/MLK.

The other nominees were Nestor Corea, Antioch; Rondarius DeJuan Gregory, East Nashville; Ricardo Jose Ruiz Machado, Glencliff; Clinton B. Dowty III, Maplewood; Eduardo Villalobos, McGavock; Aran Mohamed-Ali, Overton; Calvin Farmer, Jr. Stratford, and Franklin Russell Griggs, Whites Creek.

The Hume Trophy is not a hollow trophy that is easily lifted by anyone, it is a solid maple trophy with solid brass decorations. Honeysucker stated, “the weight of the trophy really matches the weight of the award. I feel a responsibility to uphold the standards that began the award.”


2018 Class of Hume Finalist Announced Monday

On the Hume Awards Page, readers can learn about a brief history of the award, information on this year’s finalists and check out a feature story on two Hume nominees, Jamaal Stewart and Jamie Graham who are life-long friends, coach together and competed in the same year for the prestigious award.

Talented, hard working individuals have a way of attracting the best of the best

Jamie Graham, Hume Award Winner (Photo Mike Strasinger)

To build a competitive team in any arena be it sports, arts or academics, it is imperative for leaders who want high rates of return on their investments of energy, time and money to yield a great product. And so it has been with the compilation of coaches and players in this new era of football at Hillsboro World IB High School.

Executive Principal of Hillsboro High School, Dr. Shuler Pelham, has quietly been collecting talent especially in the areas of academics and athletics beginning with Head Football Coach, Maurice Fitzgerald who was brought on board to help build a family culture both in the classroom and on the field.

One teacher or coach can’t build a strong program without strong talent to work with and Coach Fitzgerald knows this well.

On his staff are two former Hume Award finalists who know how to cultivate a culture that emphasizes the importance of scholar and athlete. Jamie Graham and Jamaal Stewart were both finalists the same year for the class of 2006-07.

Graham took the award by a historical single deciding vote. Speaking with both coaches recently, it became evident that one doesn’t have to play on the same team to become brothers in a sport for a lifetime.

Stewart is Hillsboro’s Offensive Coordinator and Graham is the defensive back coach. The two friends often poke fun at each other, but as much as they kid each other they are as serious about education and competing.

Jamaal Stewart, Offensive Coordinator and Jamie Graham Defensive Back Coach for Hillsboro High School (photo Lauryn Newbern)

Below is our quick chat with the two Hume finalists

Hillsboro Globe (HG): What is your history with Jamie Graham?

Jamaal Stewart (JS): We grew up together and I’ve played football with him since I was five. Then, in high school we found ourselves facing each other as opponents. I played for Statford and Jamie played for Whites Creek.

HG: How do you know each other?

JS: My people knew his people since we were kids and that’s how we became brothers in a way. We joke with each other all the time about childhood memories.

HG: What does it mean to you to be able work with him?

JS: We have always had a good relationship and he is a cool person to work with, even though he went to Vanderbilt. 

HG: What characteristics of coaching do you like and dislike ?

JS: I like that he’s a hard worker and very detailed and I dislike that he doesn’t listen to me all the time. He beat me by two votes he paid for.

Jamie Graham and Jamaal Stewart played football together early in their friendship, then competed against each other in high school. Now they coach together at Hillsboro High School. (photo submitted by Jamaal Stewart)

HG: What is your history with Jamaal Stewart?

JG: We’ve been knowing each other since the age of four or five.We played on the same little league team called the grammar pirates.

HG: How do you know each other?

JG: He is a childhood friend and we are like family.

HG: What does it mean to work with him?

JG: He’s a pleasure to work with and someone I’ve been knowing my whole life.

HG: What characteristic of coaching like and dislike? 

JG: I like that he studies the game and is always prepared and I know that he loves the game. I dislike that he jokes all practice and doesn’t throw the ball enough.

Coach Porter is Burro bank manager by day and Burro basketball coach at night

The Hillsboro US Community Credit Union branch has been a staple of the school since it first became  a named partner of the Academy of International Business and Communications.

It has never been this easy to deposit and withdraw money when you need it quick. This is especially helpful when you need money for a drink or a snack from the Burro Brew.

The Hillsboro Globe spoke with the manager of the US Community Credit Union,  Coach Porter,  about the mission of this credit union and  the benefits of being a member.

Hillsboro Globe: All right,  so, when did the credit union choose to become a named member of Hillsboro’s Academy of International Business Communications?

Coach Porter: So,  the reason that USCCU chose Hillsboro was because of the location to Green Hills. They wanted to mirror other locations they have around the city of Nashville. Hillsboro is closest to their Hermitage Avenue location. There’s talk to have more branches in other schools in Metro and to ultimately have them all around Nashville.

Hillsboro Globe: How did you become involved?

Coach Porter: I became involved because I have a background in Finance. I worked at an accounting firm called . I worked in their IT department, but I dealt with the finance side as well.

Hillsboro Globe: Why should people sign up to become a member of a credit union?

Coach Porter: People should sign up for a checking or savings account simply because it promotes financial literacy. A lot of students don’t really learn about financial literacy until they make a bad choice and then they learn about it the hard way.

I would say financial literacy is the primary reason, but, it is also ver convenient. It’s right inside the school across from the main office and cafeteria. Creating an account gives students a method to practice saving their money. We live in a society that is more about spending money. We don’t really value saving money, but I think that’s an important thing for our academy to promote.

Hillsboro Globe: Does USCCU have a promotion going on right now for new members?

Coach Porter: Right now we actually have a special. If you open up a checking account with at least $25, new members will get a chance to grab money in the USCCU Money Machine. Whatever money that the new member grabs is deposited immediately into his or her account. We have specials all year. We always have some type of incentive to open up an account.

Hillsboro Globe: All right, tell our readers what it is like to work at a USCCU branch?

Coach Porter: It is amazing. I enjoy working for any USCCU branch. I enjoy the environment I think it’s a very progressive company they’re trying to be at the forefront of: Technology, Promotion, and Social Media Marketing. 

Hillsboro Globe: Thank you, Mr. Porter