Bumper Crop

Green, Quinn highlight one of Lowcountry's most impressive classes to sign on dotted line

A.J. Green had known for more than a year where he would play college football. Robert Quinn didn't know until he woke up the morning of National Signing Day.

And when the two high school football stars signed on the dotted line Wednesday, they headlined a group of seniors that made up one of the area's best recruiting classes in memory.

Green, the All-America wide receiver from Summerville High School, stayed true to his word and signed a national letter of intent with Georgia. Green committed to the Bulldogs in October of 2006 and never wavered despite being recruited by the big boys of college football, including Southern Cal, Miami, Notre Dame and Michigan.

Quinn, on the other hand, went to bed Tuesday night an Auburn Tiger and woke up a North Carolina Tar Heel.

Quinn, a heralded defensive end from Fort Dorchester, was intent on signing with Auburn as late as Tuesday night. But he woke up Wednesday and thought to himself, "Man, that's not me. I want to go with North Carolina."

Said his mother Maria: "We told him to sleep on it. He did."

Quinn signed with the Tar Heels, ending the suspense and drama that had built up during an intense recruiting process. Quinn picked North Carolina over Auburn, Alabama and South Carolina.

"I'm just glad to get this off my shoulders," said the 6-5, 255-pound Quinn, who was The Post and Courier's defensive lineman of the year. "With me weighing about 255, I feel like 100 pounds right now. It was a gut feeling. Coach (Butch) Davis won championships at Miami and with the Cowboys. Overall, he and his staff seem pretty nice and that's where I feel most comfortable."

Quinn and Green were among seven players from the Lowcountry to sign with major colleges Wednesday. The others were Summerville quarterback Reid McCollum (South Carolina); Summerville kicker David Behr (Air Force); Hanahan wide receiver Brandon Ford (Clemson); Berkeley running back Andre Ellington (Clemson); and Beaufort defensive end Devin Taylor (South Carolina).

Green received a phone call from Georgia wide receiver coach John Eason as he signed at a ceremony held at Summerville High.

"It's a big burden off my shoulders, said Green, who finished No. 2 nationally on the all-time career reception yardage list. "So now I can just focus on academics. I had my mind set on this since I was a sophomore where I was going."

McCollum signed with South Carolina after enrolling at the school in January.

But he returned home less than two weeks later. His family said he was still coping with the death of his former football coach Louis Mulkey and high school sweetheart Cassidy Pendley. Mulkey was one of nine firefighters killed in the Sofa Super Store fire in June and Pendley was one of seven college students killed in a beach house fire in North Carolina in late October.

"I'm real excited about today," said McCollum, who tied a state record with nine touchdowns passes in a single game during his senior season.

"I really wasn't ready mentally, physically or emotionally to be at USC, but I will be this summer. I've always wanted to go to South Carolina from day one.

"I know people question my decision, but now they will read the paper and see that I'm committed."

Ellington and Ford, both headed to Clemson, will be more than just teammates next fall.

"We've already decided we'd be rommates," Ellington said. "I'm glad someone from my area is going up there and we'll be freshmen at the same time."

Ellington rushed for 1,820 yards and 24 touchdowns last season at Berkeley, and Ford caught 78 passes for 1,703 yards and 22 TDs at Hanahan.

The two were already looking out for each other Wednesday at the Berkeley County School District signings ceremony. Ford forgot to bring his Clemson hat and Ellington was more than happy to lend his to his future teammate during the photograph sessions.

"We met a little in our junior season at the Berkeley County Jamboree," Ford said. "We got closer and closer as the seasons went along and went to a (Clemson) game together."

Bill Henley contributed to this report.

Reach Philip M. Bowman at pbowman@postandcourier.com.