Falcons beaming with pride on National Signing Day

Updated: Feb. 3, 2021 at 6:31 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - It’s a proud day in the nest for Falcons head football coach Dustin Curtis.

“We want to produce men that have a chance to go on and have a career and go to college, whether that’s play football or not,” said Curtis.

On Wednesday, A.C. Flora celebrated a major milestone. More than a handful of its 2020 Class 4-A state championship stars signed on to compete at the next level.

Defensive end Omarion Hammond is heading to Georgia State to play for Shawn Elliott.

“He’s an energetic guy,” said Hammond of Elliott. “He creates a lot of energy on the field. Off the field, he’s a great guy.”

Hammond mentioned he’s the first in his family to play college athletics at a Division I school. He added his entire family is proud of this accomplishment, especially his grandfather.

Tight end Banks Pope committed initially to Appalachian State until his dream school called three days before signing day in December. That school was Clemson.

“It was like, ‘Oh my gosh! It’s Dabo Swinney,’” said Pope. “At the same time, it’s Coach Swinney now. It was a cool experience.”

It also felt a little bit like destiny with Swinney pointing out Hunter Renfrow, now with the Las Vegas Raiders, decommitted from App State to walk on at Clemson.

The decision to go to Tiger Town wound up being a no-brainer. Pope’s dad, mom, and two brothers all went to Clemson.

“It’s unreal,” Pope said smiling. “It’s a dream come true. I thought he [Coach Brandon Streeter] was kind of joking at first. It’s unreal to think that they want me to come play for them.”

Pope will enter as a preferred walk-on. His Falcons’ teammate, Eriq Rice, accepted a PWO offer to play for the hometown Gamecocks. The decision meant a great deal to his family.

“As soon as I announced the decision to them [that] I wanted to commit, they jumped for joy,” Rice said.

Rice believes his performance in the state title game increased his recruiting visibility. What solidified his decision to join South Carolina was a conversation with wideouts coach Justin Stepp.

“Coach Stepp said he wishes he made the same decision as I did. He treated me like family from the first conversation,” added Rice.

Quarterback Ethan Beamish landed at Limestone College. He spent one season at A.C. Flora and put together a brilliant 2020 campaign to turn his dream of playing colliegiately into reality.

“It’s really exciting to have your weight off your shoulders,” said Beamish. “I felt like the system was a good fit, and the staff as a whole made me feel at home.”

He credited his coaches, teammates, and family for pushing him to be the best version of himself.

As all prepare to leave the nest, they do so as champions and with love for their Falcons’ family. Best of luck to all the great athletes at A.C. Flora.

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