When Randy Robinson stood across from his first Berkeley High School football team back in the spring of 2016, the veteran coach had a great vibe about the 10th-graders in the room.
“When I walked in the door and had the first meeting, as soon as I saw this sophomore class I said these guys could be special,” Robinson said. “They bought in very quickly.”
Seven of those guys had their moment on center stage Wednesday morning, highlighting the Stags’ National Signing Day ceremony in the school’s auditorium.
The offense loses five players headed to the next level in wide receiver DJ Chisolm (Middle Tennessee State), wide receiver Dervon Pesnell (Campbell), quarterback Eric Tuttle (North Greenville), offensive lineman David Martin (South Carolina State) and running back Keyshawn Wicks (Old Dominion).
Wicks signed in December in the early period.
The skill group had a hand in 139 career touchdowns. Tuttle threw for over 4,800 yards and 51 scores. Chisolm caught 146 passes for almost 2,300 yards and 31 touchdowns. Pesnell grabbed 91 receptions for nearly 1,400 yards and 20 scores. Wicks finished 89 yards short of 4,000 career rushing yards and scored 37 touchdowns.
On defense, defensive back Tre Morrison is headed to Wingate. He made 84 stops as a senior and an interception for the Stags before earning South defensive MVP honors with two interceptions in the North-South all-star game.
Steele Judy is headed to the Citadel as a long snapper.
The sophomores won 32 games in three varsity seasons and captured three region crowns. They played in the Lower State final as juniors and advanced to the third round of the playoffs this past season.
Their win total was seven more than the previous five years combined. Robinson took over a program that was 3-7 in 2015.
“They wanted somebody to develop a total program for them and that included academics,” Robinson said. “We have mandatory study hall so these kids who are good enough to go play at the collegiate level also have the grades to go. They bought into our summer workouts. They bought into our schemes and systems. It was a gradual build. I kind of make fun of the ol’ culture thing but it’s true. We had a bit of a culture change. These kids are a reflection of that.”
He expected three more Stags to finalize their plans after signing day, making it 17 players to reach the next level under Robinson.
Wednesday’s sendoff should inspire the next young group to come through.
“We’ve had a lot of wins and a lot of fun but we’ve got some new kids coming,” Robinson said. “They’ve seen days like today and they want to be a part of it. They’ll work hard.”