Hardaway senior volleyball player Jimea Dunn learned firsthand that good things come to those who wait.
Dunn said entering her senior year she was frustrated as she watched other classmates receive scholarship offers and commit to high-profile colleges. That frustration, however, was nowhere to be found Wednesday, when Dunn shared the spotlight with some of her fellow seniors.
Dunn was one of seven Hardaway athletes to put their pens to paper in a signing ceremony at the high school. Four sports were represented among the athletes, including cheerleading, football, soccer and volleyball.
“It’s very exciting,” said Dunn, who signed with Wesleyan College. “I just had to be patient and wait my turn. The fact that it’s happening right now, I’m really happy.”
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Dunn was joined by Zoe Villermin, who signed to play soccer at Limestone College; Ja’Kobe Ellerbee, who will play football at Mesabi Range College and Kashigo Meade, Daijah Callier, Austin Williams and Christian Sellars, who will all join the cheerleading team at Columbus State.
Ellerbee did a little bit of everything for the Hawks football program, spending time at running back, slot receiver, punt returner and kick returner. His efforts paid off in a spot at Mesabi Range, a junior college in Virginia, Minn.
Ellerbee said the team plans to use him at slot receiver and punt returner. While he hopes to catch a Division I coach’s eye in the next two years and move on to a bigger school, Ellerbee understood how much it took to reach this stage in his playing career.
“Ever since I got here (at Hardaway), I’ve worked hard. I had to work for it,” Ellerbee said. “It means a lot. I thank God every day for letting me play this sport, because some people can’t. It feels amazing.”
Callier has the rare opportunity to not only cheer in college, but to do so alongside three of her high school teammates. Callier said she looks forward to seeing so many familiar faces in college, which she reasoned will make the transition that much easier.
The choice of CSU became clear to her when she saw head coach Jimbo Davis at work with the cheerleaders. The program’s success speaks for itself, as Columbus State has claimed 15 of the past 17 Peach Belt Conference titles in the sport.
Soon enough, Callier will find herself and a few other Hawks on the squad.
“I’m very excited, because I know the Columbus State cheerleading program will push me to work even harder so I can get to the best team ever in Columbus, Ga.,” Callier said.
Callier commended her fellow cheerleaders as well as the three other Hardaway athletes who signed their letters of intent.
“I’m very proud of all of them,” Callier said. “I’ve seen them in the hallways and in classes since freshman year. It’s amazing to see how hard everyone worked to get to a common goal.”
Like the other six Hawks seated by her at the table, Dunn knew this was only the beginning of her athletic endeavors.
“The work is never done,” Dunn said. “The higher up you go, the more work you’ve got to do. I have been putting in work for I don’t know how long. I’m just glad it’s paying off.”
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports