Caleb Marmo, Wake Forest
Marmo, was named to the Johnson City Press/Kingsport Times News Super 22 baseball team and an all-state selection. He batted .312 with five home runs, 27 RBIs and 45 runs scored.
The Hilltoppers’ outfielder is also a talented defensive player and a scoring threat on offense with 36 walks and 30 stolen bases last season. He said everything fell into place at the Atlantic Coast Conference school.
"Ever since I set foot on campus, I knew that was where I wanted to go," said Marmo. "I've always dreamed of playing Division I baseball. Meeting the coaches and seeing the facilities, it all added up. I prayed about it a lot, and God called me over there. I know it's going to be a good time. I'm excited."
Jackson Skeen, Tennessee
Skeen was the 2018 boys’ golf state co-champion, leading the Hilltoppers to the team title. He was the No. 1 golfer for the Hilltoppers his senior year as they finished state runner-up.
Over his time, he was all-conference all four years and the Big 7 Conference player of the year for three straight seasons. He embraced the role of a team golfer, leading the Hilltoppers to four straight Region 1 championships and two state runner-up finishes as well as the state championship.
The Hilltoppers' standout said signing with the Volunteers is a big deal to him.
"It means a lot to me to see all my hard work pay off," said Skeen. "Getting to play under Coach (Brennan) Webb is such an awesome feeling. I know he's going to get me as good as I can be. I can't wait to see what my game can transform to."
Alasia Smith, Gardner-Webb
Smith, a Johnson City Press / Kingsport Times News All-Northeast Tennessee selection last season, averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds leading the Lady ’Toppers to the TSSAA state basketball quarterfinals.
She goes into her senior season with career totals over 1,000 points and 500 rebounds. She is a three-time Big Seven Conference defensive player of the year and a three-time all-conference and all-district selection.
Gardner-Webb seemed like the right fit for her.
"It's a very good experience," said Smith. "I've always wanted to go DI. I chose Gardner-Webb because I can set my own goals. They also made me feel I was at home."
She added she needs to become "a better all-around player and learn different positions."
Joining in the signing day fun for Science Hill were: Erin Egerbrecht (UVa.-Wise women's basketball), Carter Counts (Milligan men's golf) and Ella Gay (Carson-Newman women's volleyball).
Also making their college choices official for the Hilltoppers were: Gracie Holt (Young Harris University women's softball), Jared Harter (King University men's wrestling), Aaron Jones (Milligan College men's cross country), Anderson Fickley (Milligan College men's cross country), Caleb Arias (Milligan College men's cross country), Ray Richardson (Tusculum College men's cross country) and Destiny Haller (King University cross country).
Cade Elliott, Tennessee
Elliott, a 6-foot-6 left handed baseball pitcher, went 4-2 with seven earned runs all of last season. He held opponents to a .163 batting average for a 1.04 earned run average. The All-Big 7 Conference pitcher hurled 59 strikeouts over 40 innings.
He also occupied the lead-off spot on the Johnson City Press / Kingsport Times News Super 22 team, he had just nine strikeouts in 110 plate appearances with a .494 batting average.
“Signing is like getting a burden off you. With UT, it’s nice to be a signee instead of a commit,” Elliott said. “Coach (Tony) Vitello is one of the most honest guys I’ve ever met. He convinced me that Tennessee is a good place to be. You can tell he cares about his players and you can tell what he’s doing with the program.”
Elliott’s Daniel Boone teammate, Ryan Haney, signed with Milligan College. Haney went 4-2 last season with 24 strikeouts and a 2.07 ERA, including a no-hitter against Sullivan South.
Evan Carter, Duke
Carter, the Johnson City Press / Kingsport Times News Super 22 Player of the Year last season as a baseball pitcher and center fielder, went 10-2 on the mound with a 1.35 ERA. An all-state selection, he helped the Cyclones to a second consecutive state tournament appearance and hit .324 with four home runs and 27 RBIs.
“He’s one of the guys that has helped put us on the map as far as elite programs in the state,” Cyclones head coach Ryan Presnell said. “As a guy that has seen a lot of transition in this program over the last four years, this comes as no surprise to me. He’s definitely an ACC talent and he’s a Duke student. I know when the coaches first saw him that they saw what I saw and that was he is a once in a lifetime kind of talent.”
He fell in love with Duke once he set foot on campus.
“I just want to thank God, my family and my friends for helping me get here. I’m very thankful for everybody around me,” Carter said. “It was love at first sight for me. The atmosphere, academics and the baseball team is all similar to what we have here, so it felt good to go to the next level feeling sort of comfortable.”
Joining Carter in signing was Maggie Johnson (Walters State softball) and Karson Dillard (Milligan baseball).