Buford’s 2015 Division I football signees
Nick Polino, North Carolina
Hunter Holland, Western Kentucky
David Curry, Georgia Tech
Evyn Cooper, Purdue
Jordan Perlotte, Wofford
Tyler Shipman, Akron
Joshua Thomas, Iowa State
Konnor Houston, Army
Travis DeGoey, Holy Cross
Steven Reese, Northwestern
Brandon Mangram, UMass
Blake Ferguson, LSU
Quay Picou, Tennessee
Austin Smith, Tennessee
Matthew Bonadies, Middle Tennessee
The Buford High football program is sending its largest class of Division I signees ever to the college level.
After helping the Wolves secure their 10th state championship in 14 years and first in Class AAAA, 15 seniors inked with their respective colleges in a ceremony Wednesday morning at the school. They’re heading to schools as far away as Holy Cross, UMass, Iowa State and Army and as close as Georgia Tech.
Buford’s class included signees with SEC, ACC, Big Ten and Big 12 teams.
SWITCHING TO STAY CLOSE: David Curry originally committed to Virginia, but he ended up switching recently to Georgia Tech and signing with the Yellow Jackets on Wednesday.
The Buford safety said his change-up came down to proximity.
“I wanted to stay closer to home. Virginia did a great job in recruiting me, and I enjoyed everything about Virginia and I loved their coaching staff,” Curry said. “But as I opened up my recruiting towards the end of the season and Georgia Tech showed a lot of interest, they offered just as much as Virginia in my opinion, and they’re 40 minutes from my house.”
It’s a good time to be joining Georgia Tech’s program, which finished an 11-3 season No. 8 in the Associated Press poll on the heels of a victory against rival Georgia and an Orange Bowl beatdown of Mississippi State.
Curry said the Yellow Jackets want to use him as a nickelback and linebacker.
“I feel good going into that position. I feel better down in a linebacker stance,” Curry said. “I can let my body naturally develop as it should. I’ve been trying to keep off weight to be a safety in high school.”
STICKING WITH CYCLONES: Joshua Thomas received plenty of late interest from other schools, but Iowa State had been there all along. That’s why Thomas decided to join the Cyclones.
He also liked that coach Paul Rhoads showed him how he could fit in the Iowa State offense.
“I could get up there and potentially be a starter as a true freshman,” Thomas said. “That’s what caught my eye.”
Thomas wanted to carve his own path, as well.
“I’m very excited because a lot of people like staying in the SEC, but I’m going to the Big 12,” Thomas said. “Different talent, different conference, just see how I compete against those boys.”
TENNESSEE TANDEM: Defensive end Quay Picou and linebacker Austin Smith both signed with Tennessee. They join a Volunteers program led by third-year coach Butch Jones.
“It’s a blessing, man,” Picou said. “Count your blessings, and this is one of them we’re definitely going to count.”
Smith said Jones is building the program in a “bigger and better” way and that the Knoxville campus felt like home for him and Picou.
“The recruiting class coming in now, it’s amazing,” Smith said. “We’re building something real special, and I just can’t wait to get there.”
Picou called signing with Tennessee “a dream that’s become reality.” One of the most exciting parts for him is getting to keep playing with Smith, who he said is like a brother to him.
“We’re continuing the family line,” Picou said.
Smith is looking forward to that element of the next level, too.
“It’s a comfortable feeling because you have someone that you know and you trust and who you really love going to the same college as you and that’s playing the same side of the ball as you,” Smith said. “It’s great. I’m just blessed.”
LONG SNAPS AT LSU: Blake Ferguson is headed to LSU to play for coach Les Miles. The Buford long snapper will also be joining his brother, Reid, who plays the same position for the Tigers.
Ferguson had been committed to LSU since September 2013.
“It’s a big day. It’s exciting to finally have it over with,” Ferguson said. “It’s been a long time coming, and it’s just exciting to see all these guys up here signing with me.”
He is looking forward to being part of a regular SEC contender led by Miles.
“It’s special there,” Ferguson said. “You walk on campus, and it’s just a family atmosphere. It’s going to be an incredible four years.”
FINDING A HOME: Matthew Bonadies had verbally committed to UAB over the summer, but he was left having to find a new school when UAB announced in December that it was disbanding its program. He landed with Middle Tennessee.
“It’s fantastic having that opportunity to bounce back from the loss of their football program and find a good home for me,” Bonadies said. “It’s a blessing, and I’m thankful for all the people that helped to make it happen.”
As one of the top scorers in Buford history and a kicker who had plenty of chances to use his leg on kickoffs, Bonadies is ready for the next step.
“It’s good to get something new going and go to the next level and focus on bettering Middle Tennessee,” Bonadies said.
VARIOUS REGIONS: Buford’s signees are going in plenty of different directions.
The other signees were Evyn Cooper (Purdue), Travis DeGoey (Holy Cross), Hunter Holland (Western Kentucky), Konnor Houston (Army), Brandon Mangram (UMass), Jordan Perlotte (Wofford), Nick Polino (North Carolina), Steven Reese (Northwestern) and Tyler Shipman (Akron).