National Signing Day is always a special day for a number of high school athletes around the country and Enterprise High School held a ceremony for 10 of those athletes to sign their National Letters of Intent on Feb. 5.
At the ceremony, one golfer, two softball players, three volleyball players and four football players signed scholarship offers to various colleges around the country.
EHS golfer Emilia Smith – daughter of Kyle and Barbara Smith – committed to UAB last year and signed her letter of intent on National Signing Day.
Smith has been an EHS golfer since her seventh grade year and has helped lead the Lady Cats to the state tournament in four consecutive years.
She was a leader on the 2019 state runner-up last season and also earned a spot in the 71st Annual U.S. Girls Junior Championships in Wisconsin over the summer. She also was the points winner at the North/South All-Star game this past summer and won the Sportsmanship Award at the Southeastern Junior Golf Tour.
“She is the real deal,” Enterprise golf coach Rex Bynum said. “There is no limit to how good Emilia can be. The Blazers of UAB are going to be pleasantly surprised when this young dynamo shows up there next fall.”
Lady Cat softball player Madelyn (Mattie) Bowden signed with Wallace Community College-Dothan and Elizabeth Williams signed with Alabama State.
Bowden – the daughter of Alan and Tanya Bowden – has been a varsity softball player since her freshman season and has spent time as an outfielder, infielder and pitcher at EHS.
“I’ve had the privilege to watch Mattie grow as a person and as a player for four years,” Enterprise softball coach Kate (Benton) Stump said. “The amount of growth in those years is truly incredible. She shows up every day to practice with the right attitude and commitment.
“I don’t think there is a position that Mattie hasn’t played and she owns every position she’s at and gives her best.”
Williams is the daughter of Jacob and Stanislava Williams and has been a member of the EHS varsity softball team since her junior season playing both infield and outfield.
“Every single year (she) gets better and better,” Stump said. “That shows how hard (she) works and how committed (she) is to being the best version of (herself).
“She works hard in the weight room, on the field and in the classroom. That has gotten (her) to where (she is) today.”
EHS volleyball players Tatiana Bonilla, Morgan Harrelson and Ali Wiggins all signed with Coastal Alabama Community College-South.
“If I could name one thing about each of these ladies that really stands out its leadership,” former EHS volleyball coach Janie Wiggins said. “Leadership is not always easy and it’s not a popularity contest.
“It’s about having respect of those around you, so that they listen and respond when you talk.”
Bonilla – the daughter of Alexander and Danielle Bonilla – has been on the EHS varsity team since her sophomore season and contributed 837 career digs and 96 career aces in that time. She also received the team’s Top Defensive Award as a senior.
“Defense is a game that’s played with heart but it’s not a glorified position that gets the recognition it deserves,” Janie Wiggins said. “Without (Bonilla) none of the other awards would even be possible. Her determination to make the next level has been evident in her hard work.”
Harrelson is the daughter of EHS soccer coach Jill Harrelson and Mike Harrelson. She has been a varsity volleyball player since her freshman year and is also a star soccer player.
Harrelson totaled 464 kills, 89 blocks, 825 digs, 167 aces and 1,121 assists in her career, and received the Top Server Award, Co-Top Setter Award and Co-Captain Award following her senior campaign.
“Morgan has always impressed me with her athleticism and work ethic,” Janie Wiggins said. “She is a talented multi-sport athlete that dedicates herself fully to both volleyball and soccer. I was thrilled beyond measure when she made the decision to play volleyball in college.”
Ali Wiggins is the daughter of Janie Wiggins and Dewayne Wiggins. She has been a varsity Lady Cat since her freshman season and totaled 1,006 kills, 130 blocks, 906 digs, 174 aces and 2,016 assists in her career.
Ali Wiggins also received the Co-Captain Award, Co-Top Setter Award, Hustle Award, Top Hitter Award and Team MVP following her senior season. She also was selected to the Dothan Eagle Super 12 from 2017-2019 and participated in the AHSAA North/South All-Star Volleyball Game.
“If you’ve had the opportunity to watch this young lady play then there is no doubt in your mind that she has big things ahead,” Janie Wiggins said of her daughter. “She’s a fierce competitor and she’s always working to improve her skills.”
Ali Wiggins’ sister, Alex, currently plays volleyball at Alabama State.
EHS football player Cooper Charlton – son of Dr. Scott and Ashley Charlton – signed with South Alabama where he’ll compete as a long snapper.
Charlton had 98 percent successful snaps as a junior and 100 percent successful snaps as a senior this past season, despite battling injuries. Charlton also played tight end, center and even played nose tackle in one game this season.
Charlton was ranked as the No. 10 long snapper in the country by the Kohl’s Underclassmen Invitational going into his senior season.
“I think Cooper is one our neatest players,” Enterprise football coach Rick Darlington said. “When he came back from injury this year he was lighting it up in tackling drills and about started a bunch of fights, which isn’t a bad thing. South Alabama just got the meanest deep snapper in the country.”
Offensive tackle Fernando Diaz – the son of Maria Ramirez – signed with Delta State. As a senior, Diaz delivered 18 knockdowns and 33 pancake blocks and was named to the ASWA all-state team in both 2018 and 2019. He also earned Dothan Eagle Super 12 honors in 2019.
“When I first came here the coaches just talked about what a special young man he was and what a great player he was,” Darlington said of Diaz. “What I’ve come to know about Fernando is that he’s just a humble young man.”
Diaz also became a father during the 2019 season. Darlington said that leading into the R.E. Lee game, which ended up being the game that turned around the season for the Wildcats, Diaz was expecting his child to be born.
“Coach (Jackson) Hanson had his cell phone in his pocket all night of the Lee game because we were hoping that baby was going to hold off for a few more hours,” Darlington joked. “He was a great player for us on the offensive line and he was a captain and a leader, and he has a great future as a father, husband and as a man. I’m proud I got to coach him this year.”
EHS linebacker Kaderrious (KD) McCray – son of Ashley Scott – signed with the University of Pikeville.
McCray suffered a torn ACL in his junior season that required two surgeries to repair. Despite only playing in five games as a junior he totaled 45 tackles and nine tackles-for-loss.
Coming into his senior season, McCray took some time to return to form but ended the season with 69 total tackles and 10 tackles-for-loss, two sacks and nine quarterback hurries.
“KD is a great kid,” Darlington flatly said. “He comes down every single day after school and lifts weights and trains on his own to get ready for (college).
“The thing about him is he’s just such a wonderful young man. He’s always smiling and always respectful. He was obviously raised well. And here’s the thing about him, no matter how he does (on the field) he’ll appreciate getting the chance to go to college and get an education.”
EHS quarterback Jackson Darlington – son of Rick and Shelly Darlington – signed with the Air Force Academy.
As a senior, Jackson Darlington threw for 967 yards and five touchdowns along with rushing for 509 yards and eight more touchdowns. On defense, he totaled 26 total tackles, four tackles-for-loss and three pass breakups. He was a member of The Sun’s Elite 11 in 2019.
“It hasn’t always been easy coming to a new school as a senior and trying to be a leader and good teammate,” Rick Darlington said of his son and quarterback. “He’s handled it with toughness and with class. He cares deeply about his teammates and the students at this school.”
Rick Darlington said that as much as his son excelled on the field, he also excelled in the school and thanked the students of EHS for taking him in.
“He told me that he’s made more friends in (one) year than he did in three years at Apopka and I think that’s a testament to the students here and the players here,” Rick Darlington emphasized. “I want to thank Enterprise for blessing my family like you have this year and taking my son in and making him feel welcome.”