SJ sees 5 sign college deals

Sports editor
Posted 5/20/22

South Johnston High hosted five senior student-athletes and their families for a special signing day ceremony at the school this week.

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SJ sees 5 sign college deals


FOUR OAKS — South Johnston High hosted five senior student-athletes and their families for a special signing day ceremony Wednesday.

Paul Olive, Brayden Fair, Cole Howard, Kennedy Byrd and Victoria James each gave unique remarks about their respective decisions.

Paul Olive, football/baseball, Methodist University:

Q: Why did you choose Methodist?

A: I liked the campus. They were offering me (scholarships) both sports, so that was a big factor. And they had my major (physical therapy).

Q: What moment stood out to you in your prep career?

A: This year I hit a walk-off (home run) to beat C.B. Aycock (April 27). That was the one right there.

Q: How do you feel about joining former South, and now MU, two-sport athlete Chase Carroll?

A: At least I’ll have somebody there. He’s done it, so if I need help with something I’m sure he can answer it.

Brayden Fair, football, Averett University:

Q: A lot of athletes chose to stay local, why did you pick a university in Virginia?

A: They really pursued me. They showed me that they had an interest in me. A lot of the other schools that scouted me didn’t show the same interest.

Q: What was the most important skill you developed playing in high school?

A: One of the biggest things was perseverance, especially with all of my medical issues (Type 1 Diabetes). So, just persevering through a lot of those challenges ... just to fight back, get back in there.

Q: What was it like to end your career at South with a signing ceremony?

A: Definitely emotional. I don’t know that I’m ready to go forward with this next level, but I’m excited to see what it brings. And I’m excited to take the challenges and overachieve.

Cole Howard, golf, Sandhills Community College:

Q: Why did you decide to continue your student-athlete journey at SCC?

A: We had a lot of Division III and other schools that offered (scholarships). But Sandhills is located in Pinehurst, which is one of the best golf capitals in the world, and I think it was the best opportunity to go there.

Q: How would describe your senior year at SJ?

A: It was probably the best team we’ve had. It was really fun, all the guys were great to play with. Competition was good, too. It was a good experience, especially for high school.

Q: What is this moment like for you, signing in front of your family, friends and coaches?

A: It feels really good. Feels like I’m moving on and achieving stuff. And it feels really great to do that.

Kennedy Byrd, softball, Louisburg College:

Q: Why do you feel like LC was your best fit?

A: It felt like home. You don’t wanna go somewhere where you don’t feel comfortable ... The coach loved me and I loved the players and I love the facility and I love the school.

Q: What was special about this year and this (SJ) team?

A: Definitely making the playoffs. We had the state championship in mind, but some things just don’t work out. I feel like we all did great this season. It was not about just one person, it was about the whole team.

Q: What is something you are looking forward to the most, playing at the next level? 

A: Having a different role. Not having to feel like I’m being relied on a lot of the time. All the girls there are equal, everybody’s the same.

Victoria James, softball, Wake Tech Community College:

Q: Why did you decide to go to Wake Tech?

A: I knew I wanted to go to a community college, just to go ahead and get everything like my easier classes out the way and still be able to play at the same time. I chose Wake Tech because it’s close to home and I know people that go there already.

Q: Was there a favorite moment you had during high school?

A: It was nice to be undefeated conference champs senior year ... And beating Cleveland, that was a good win, too.

Q: What are you looking to achieve now that you’re playing at the next level?

A: Honestly, I’m just gonna go out there and keep working hard and doing what I’ve been. And just keep going as long as I can.

Donnell Coley can be reached at or 910-230-2040


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