Early Signing Day in Southwest Virginia sees athletes join big name programs and major conferences


The early National Signing Day saw notable high school senior football players in Southwest Virginia make their written commitments to play at the next level. Some are staying in the Commonwealth while others are leaving Virginia to join big name programs and powerhouse conferences.

Pair of Cavs sign letters of intent

Lord Botetourt saw two of its senior football players sign letters of intent just days after its state runner-up finish in Lynchburg.

Offensive lineman Gage Bassham will return to the site where his high school career ended, joining the Liberty Flames.

Outside linebacker Isaiah Stephens will be going out-of-state to join Coastal Carolina. Stephens is already enrolled to take classes in Myrtle Beach next month.

JF’s Cupit headed to UCF

Cementing a decision that he made months ago, Jefferson Forest’s Keenan Cupit celebrated his written intent to the University of Central Florida.

The running back and linebacker had made his verbal commitment to join the Knights back in July.

He chose the American Athletic Conference program over several in-state schools including UVA and James Madison

Ben Cox to play SEC football

Down in Radford, Ben Cox is joining a SEC program.

The Bobcats senior is joining Vanderbilt as an offensive lineman. But on the defensive side of the ball, Cox made 68 tackles, including eight quarterback sacks, in his senior season, helping Radford earn nine wins and a trip to the second round of the playoffs.

Cox will be the second in his family to play college ball. His brother, Nathan, plays at Division III program, Washington & Lee.

Zae Baines commits to Temple

Fresh off a state championship in the VHSAA Division II, North Cross celebrated the accomplishment of Zae Baines, who will be headed up north to Philadelphia to play for Temple University.

The wide receiver accounted for 1,133 total yards and 14 touchdowns in his senior season.

He follows in the footsteps of his dad, Shannon, who played collegiate ball at Virginia before embarking on a NFL career with San Diego, Baltimore and Jacksonville.

Other notable signings

  • E.C. Glass lineman Holden Ayers committed to the Richmond Spiders.
  • Hidden Valley’s Kelly Mitchell is headed to James Madison.
  • Magna Vista’s Louis Taylor signed his letter of intent to attend Liberty.

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