Four GWA Football Standouts commit to Rome Colleges on National Signing Day

Signing Day at George Walton Academy in Monroe was historic this year after the Bulldogs football team celebrated its best season in 11 years. This success was noticed, and on Feb. 6, 2019, four of the student-athletes got to benefit from that success by signing to play football for Berry and Shorter College in Rome. Terence Thorpe, Darius Barnum and Andre Payne signed to play for Berry College and Andrew Tossie signed with Shorter College.

“I am excited that we have four student-athletes representing GWA in football this year going on to continue their education and football careers,” said GWA athletic director Mark Whitley, adding “These young men have done what it takes in the classroom to help solidify their opportunity to play this great game at the next level. We are very proud of them all and wish them the best of luck.”

George Walton Academy student-athletes on signing day, Feb. 6, 2019, from left, Andrew Tossie of Snellville, GA headed to Shorter University and Darius Barnum of Monroe, GA, Andre Payne of Lawrenceville, GA and Terence Thorpe of Snellville, GA, all headed to Berry College on football scholarships. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel

Family, faculty, teammates and fellow students gathered in the auditorium of the Pennington Science Building on the GWA campus on Feb. 6, 2019 to witness the special event for these students and to share in the celebration with them afterward. For GWA, this was the largest signing event ever and an emotional day for the athletes and their families as well as the coaches. GWA Senior Athletic Advisor Don Williams got a little emotional as he wished the athletes well in their future education and careers.

“This is a family, always been a family and always going to be a family,” Williams said, going on to say the school offers the full package, not just football or “ball” and these four students and their families embraced that concept. “These families were looking for an education, they were looking for a social environment where the kids could feel safe and grow in and make good friends and what you find when you come here is you make good friends that last a lifetime.”

He paid tribute to the character of the four athletes, saying they were not “me” people. “They were always ‘we’ people,” he said, thanking them for helping get the football program on track. “And if you ever need me, you know where to find me.”

Each of the four athletes, in turn, thanked first God then their families, the coaches and their teammates for helping get them to this point where they now have such a great opportunity for their future.

From left: Georgia Walton Academy Athletic Advisor Don Williams and GWA athletic directorMark Whitley. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel
Teammates, fellow students, faculty and family of the four student-athletes from George Walton Academy gathered in the auditorium to celebrate with them as they signed with colleges in Rome, Ga. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel

Darius Barnum

Andre Payne

Terence Thorpe

Andrew Tossie



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