For Kiante Walton, it was always going to be Indiana. At least for the last few days.
The former Carver High defensive back may have appeared to back off his commitment to the Hoosiers, claiming to be undecided and bringing out four hats to choose from at his signing ceremony on Wednesday, but only one hat was the right fit.
“It’s a great school,” said Walton, who had hats from Georgia Southern, Appalachian State and South Alabama on the table. “It’s the Big Ten Conference. You play the best of the best week in and week out. It’s a good opportunity. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.”
Walton spent time committed to both Georgia Southern and Appalachian State, but received a flood of late offers from major Division-I programs like Missouri, Kansas State and BYU, among others.
Never miss a local story.
“I had a good senior season,” Walton explained.
He’s right. He tallied four interceptions and 11 pass breakups en route to being named to the All-Bi-City first team.
At Indiana, he’ll join former Northside player Tim Bennett, who plays cornerback for the Hoosiers.
In addition to Walton, Carver had two other Division-I signees and 12 non-Division-I signees.
Linebacker Tim Whatley inked with Tennessee-Chattanooga, while fellow linebacker/defensive end Niemus Bryant chose to sign with Georgia State.
Both Whatley and Bryant said they were drawn to their schools because of the possibility to make an instant impact.
Tennessee-Chattanooga graduated a number of linebackers, and Whatley expects to be able to compete for playing time right away.
“I can come in as a freshman and compete to be a four-year starter,” he said. “Freshman year, coming in making plays. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Bryant like the idea of joining a team still in its infancy. Georgia State began its program in 2010 and will play its first full Division-I schedule in 2014.
“It’s real cool,” Bryant said. “It’s a great chance for me to make an impact on the program from the beginning.”
Whatley was All-Bi-City co-defensive player of the year as a junior and first-team All-Bi-City as a senior. In 2013, he tallied 89 tackles, an interception and two forced fumbles. Bryant was second-team All-Bi-City in 2013.
Five others signed with Middle Georgia State: Daquarius Williams-Johnson, Kenneth Dorsey, Joshua Frazier, Garrett Coleman and RaeQuan Lowe.
Derrell Hicks, Tim London and Dondrell Allen all signed with North Georgia Tech.
Luckie Rozier signed with point University, and Tailik Quarterman, Drelon Freeman and Cordarius Smith signed with Fort Valley State.