Video: 24 Stallions Sign With College Teams

Video: 24 Stallions Sign With College Teams

Student-athletes begin college sports careers by making it official.

South County softball player Stephanie Sbardella didn't have any butterflies in her stomach when she signed a piece of paper committing her to Charleston Southern University for the next four years.

Instead, the senior said a rush of excitement overtook her as she officially took the next step in her academic and softball career.

"It wasn't so much pressure as it was excitement about getting it over with," she said. "It's exciting to start something and have the chance to play."

<object width="560" height="340"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="560" height="340"></embed></object>

It also helped that the third baseman for the undefeated Stallions had her friends, teammates and senior classmates committing to their colleges with her during a special ceremony.

On April 14, South County conducted an official signing day for its student-athletes. Joined by their parents and coaches, 24 students put pen to paper and finished the recruiting process.

Student's committed to schools as close as the University of Virginia and James Madison University, and as far away as Cleveland State and Vanderbilt University.

The ceremony also showed off how far South County's athletics have come since the school opened its doors five years ago.

"This is the most [signings] in school history," South County Director of Student Activities Mike Pflugrath said. Pflugrath said the 26 signings this year beat last year's 22, but the school may not be done yet.

"There's more that aren't listed," he said. "They're seniors that are going to play in college, but haven't decided where yet."

Pflugrath expects the number of college-bound athletes to reach 30 by the May 1 signing deadline.

The large signing class also shows that South County is beginning to develop a brand name that will help draw college recruiters.

"The athletic programs have grown every year," Pflugrath said. "The teams are doing better and as the teams get better, the players get more exposure."

With the brand name growing Pflugrath said he expects future recruiting classes to be larger.

"Name recognition and how other students have done since they left help open the doors for these kids," he said. "It also helps to have students representing South County at these schools."

One of the high-profile signings was football player Andre Simmons who committed to play for Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

"It was a tough decision but I finally got it narrowed down to Vanderbilt, Rutgers and Boston College," Simmons said. "[Vanderbilt] want to me try to come in and contribute on the field right away."

Other signings weren't quite as high profile, but equally important and exciting. Some athletes were just excited to be part of a college team.

"I'm looking forward to just telling people I'm playing soccer at college," said Sara Brock, a member of the South County girls' soccer team and Old Dominion University commit. "It's just really exciting."