National Signing Day took place recently, with 12 DeLand High School Bulldog athletes signing letters of intent to continue their education and athletic careers in seven different athletic endeavors.
Five of these 12 will go on to a college of their choice to play football, and three will continue in volleyball, with one each in cross-country, rowing and swimming. One is a double-sport athlete in soccer and track.
The five football players are Jason Murphy, Dionte Marks, Traquan McNair, Demaurez Bellamy and Matthew Bailey, while the three volleyball athletes are Kylianne Philip, Kieran McNamara and Noemi Talton.
Chyenne Dunn is the athlete who will continue in two sports, soccer and track, with AJ Williams continuing in cross-country, Joelle Huttmann in rowing, and Christina Clark in swimming.
Dunn, a three-sport athlete who ran cross-country this past season, won the Golden Boot Award her junior year for scoring the most goals during the season, and she was named the most valuable sprinter on the track team. She has elected to attend Stevenson University to pursue a degree in sports medicine and athletic training.
Williams will continue his cross-country career at Daytona State College. He has earned Second Team News-Journal honors twice during his career at DeLand running cross-country and track. He served as team captain for both sports, and will major in business at Daytona State.
Huttmann started four years for the Lady Bulldog volleyball team, but will advance her education through the sport of rowing. She will be attending the University of Central Florida, where she will study health science.
Clark has been a well-decorated swimming athlete at DeLand for the past four years, and will be continuing her swimming at the University of West Florida. She went undefeated her senior season in dual-meet competition.
During her junior season, she was the first Lady Bulldog in 15 years to qualify for the state meet in swimming. Some of her other honors include being named the 2016 Spectrum Sport Athlete of the Year in swimming, captain of the swim team, and the 2016 News-Journal Volusia/ Flagler Swimmer of the Year. She will major in business management at West Florida.
Philip participated in several clubs at DHS while carrying a 4.21 GPA, placing her in the top 10 percent of her class. She has elected to attend Davis & Elkins College to continue playing volleyball, while pursuing a degree in elementary education.
McNamara lettered three years in volleyball as a Bulldog. In her sophomore season, she ranked third in the district in blocks, while as a junior, she was in the top 25 in the state of Florida.
She has been selected as a News-Journal All- Area honorable-mention athlete, and will be attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University majoring in human factor physiology.
Talton is a two-sport athlete, volleyball and weightlifting. She maintains a 4.42 GPA, which places her in the top 5 percent of her graduating class. She will be attending Ithaca College, while studying physical therapy.
Murphy is a two-sport athlete as well. He was a three-year starter as a Bulldog football player, and participated in weightlifting. He will attend Albany (Ga.) State University while pursuing a degree in sports management.
Marks will be going to the University of Florida to continue his education in communications while playing football for the Gators. As a junior, he had 23 catches for 444 yards and seven touchdowns, leading him to Second Team honors as a News- Journal honoree.
His senior season found him with 44 catches for 964 yards and 10 touchdowns, leading him to First Team All-Area wideout by The Daytona Beach News- Journal.
McNair is a two-sport athlete — football and weightlifting. As a junior, he had 61 tackles and five-and-a-half sacks, and was invited to Nike’s The Opening Camp in Miami.
His senior season found him being named as to the First Team All-Area by The News-Journal. He will extend his playing days and education to the University of Tennessee - Martin, where he will major in communications and media design.
Bellamy lettered in football for four years as a Bulldog. He was a two-way player for DeLand. While on defense, he recorded 30 tackles, eight quarterback hurries, four sacks, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery, while on offense he rushed for 767 yards and had 157 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He is headed to the University of South Florida to study communications and play football.
Bailey is a three-sport athlete — football, track and weightlifting. He is in the top third of his class, and will be studying business at the University of South Carolina, where he will play football.
Other athletes will be signing later in the year as other sports seasons close out.