Big day for LaGrange trio
Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, February 6, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Fresh off a memorable senior season, LaGrange’s Dexter Fitzpatrick is ready to take on a new challenge.
Fitzpatrick, who had nearly 200 tackles in 10 games, is heading to North Carolina to join the Mars Hill University football program.
Fitzpatrick, along with two of his LaGrange High teammates, signed his letter of intent on Wednesday afternoon during a ceremony at the school.
Also signing on Wednesday were wide receiver Jordan Ogletree (Tuskegee) and defensive lineman Robert Thornton (Middle Georgia State).
Fitzpatrick had previously committed to Lenoir-Rhyne University, also in North Carolina, but he had a change of heart on signing day.
For Fitzpatrick, Mars Hill just felt like the place to be.
“It’s a family atmosphere,” Fitzpatrick said. “Everybody loves everybody. The coaches care about you.”
Mars Hill is getting one of the state’s elite defensive players from last season.
Fitzpatrick, who made multiple all-state teams and was the Region 5-AAAA defensive player of the year, had 182 tackles, including 26.5 for loss.
Fitzpatrick is hoping he won’t have to wait around to show what he can do on the college level.
“One reason that I really like Mars Hill is because I’ve got a chance to play early,” Fitzpatrick said. “I want to go to a school where I can leave my legacy. We can all come together as brothers and compete for a championship.”
Thornton, who had 24 tackles including six for loss last season, will remain in state to play for Middle Georgia State University in Cochran.
Last year, it was Jadon Thornton signing with Middle Georgia State.
Now, Robert Thornton will get a chance to play with his former teammate and family member.
“My cousin (Jadon) goes there,” Robert Thornton said. “I had other looks, but he kind of talked me into going,”
Thornton’s support system, which includes his friends, family members and coaches, was on hand on Wednesday for his big day.
“It means a lot to have them here,” Thornton said. “They’ve helped me through this journey.”
Ogletree, LaGrange’s top wide receiver last season, has signed with Tuskegee University in Alabama.
“It felt like a brotherhood, and I know I can play there early,” Ogletree said. “I still have some more work to do, and I will. I feel like it’ll pay off in college.”
Ogletree had 21 catches for 360 yards with three touchdowns, with two of those scores coming against Troup.
“This is what we all work for, and it pays off now,” Ogletree said. “It’s another step that we have to take.”
LaGrange head coach Chuck Gibbs said a handful of other LaGrange players will sign in the coming weeks.
“We have others that have other offers that are undecided,” Gibbs said. “They’ll continue to search and try to find the right school.”
OF NOTE: For more signing-day photos, check out Facebook.com/LDNSports