On The Dotted Line: CHHS athletes sign college scholarships
Published 3:24 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2023
A total of four Charles Henderson High School athletes signed college scholarship letters-of-intent on Wednesday to continue their playing careers at the next level.
Jayden Spearman signed to play basketball at Enterprise State Community College (ESCC), Makala “KK” Hobdy signed to play basketball at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Deanna Gosha signed to play basketball at Chattahoochee Valley Community College (CVCC) in Phenix City and Mario Davenport signed to play football at Miles College in Fairfield.
Davenport was a star football and basketball player at Charles Henderson. He earned All-Messenger in football honors as a senior, totaling 53 tackles, seven pass breakups and six interceptions. He helped lead his team to a state runner-up finish in 2022 and won a state championship at Pike Lib as a junior.
“I’m blessed and honored to have coached Mario Davenport,” CHHS Football Coach Quinn Hambrite said. “I was fortunate enough to coach him his senior year and to know Mario is to really get to know him. His demeanor is not what he puts out. He’s mild-mannered but he is ferocious on the football field. He made a lot of plays for us.”
Davenport chose to sign with Miles College, where he will play alongside CHHS teammate Damien Hart. He’ll play defensive back in college.
“It’s closer to home, so that was big for me,” Davenport said of his decision. “(CHHS Assistant Principal Angelo) Wheeler put me on to Miles and this is just a great opportunity for me, so I took it. I’m excited about (playing with Hart). There are a couple of people there that I know that I’ll get to play with again. That’ll be really fun.”
Davenport, who said he wants to be an accountant, said his goals are to get a championship and he knows what he has to reach those goals.
“I want to win a championship and I want to get my degree,” he said of his goals. “I want to come out (of college) with a few degrees. The biggest thing I need to work on is my work ethic. I have to go harder to get where I want to be.”
Spearman earned All-Messenger and All-State honors as a part of the state runner-up CHHS basketball team this season.
“Jayden has accomplished so much, not only on the court but off it,” CHHS Boys Basketball Coach Tim Fayson said. “He’s overcome a lot and he feels like a son to me. He’s been through a lot and has accomplished a lot. I’m very proud of him and everything that he’s accomplished.”
Spearman was a regional winner of the Bryant-Jordan Scholarship, which honors senior athletes who have overcome personal adversity to excel. He also won the Class 5A Student Achievement Award. The adversity that Spearman has overcome in his life helped propel him to becoming a college athlete.
“There were times I wanted to give up but I kept pushing because I knew I didn’t have anything else to fall back on,” Spearman emphasized. “I had to do this to be able to go to college.”
As a senior, he averaged 19.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Spearman will play alongside his former teammate at CHHS, Cody Youngblood, with ESCC next season.
“When I went to visit, I saw it was a really great program and I feel like I can do a lot of good things there,” Spearman said. “I will have some really good teammates and a good coach, too.”
Spearman wants to major in business where he plans to one day own his own trucking company.
“My goal in college is to get my degree and be the best person I can be,” he said. “I don’t know what will happen (after ESCC), basketball might come to an end. You never know, so I just want to stick with it while I can.”
Hobdy has been a varsity player since she was in seventh grade and turned that into being a three-time all-state guard and this year’s All-Messenger Female Player of the Year. She also won The Messenger’s Winter Athlete of the Year last season, as well. She averaged 19.7 points, seven rebounds and 4.1 assists per game as a senior.
“I’ve had her since the seventh grade,” recently retired CHHS Girls Coach Dyneshia Jones said. “I knew she was going to be a special young lady from the start and I’m proud to say that she is going to Shelton State.”
Hobdy said she intends to pursue coaching after her college career ends.
“It’s a good junior college (JUCO) for me to go to,” Hobdy said of her decision to sign with Shelton State. “It’s one of the best JUCOs in the nation and it’s still pretty close to home.
“I want to get my degree and be a basketball coach. (Jones) taught me everything, she’s taught me how to be a coach. I know her ways and I’ll learn off that.”
Gosha will play for the CVCC basketball team. She also earned All-Messenger honors as a senior, averaging 8.1 points, seven rebounds and 0.4 assists per game as a post player for the Lady Trojans.
“We had some battles at first but look where (Gosha) is right now, that’s what I’m happy about,” Jones said. “She’s getting ready to graduate high school and signing a scholarship to play college basketball. I’m so proud of her.”
Gosha, who said she wants to pursue a master’s degree, hopes to be a nurse after college.
“I like the administration, the coaches and the players there,” Gosha said of her decision to sign with CVCC. “They made me feel welcome, like I was at home.”
Hobdy and Gosha both pointed to the 2020 undefeated state championship CHHS team as their fondest high school memories. Both also said it was hard to express what Jones has meant their careers.
“She means a lot me,” Hobdy said. “That’s my coach. I will miss her a lot.”
Gosha said they had ups and downs together but Jones has become more than just a coach for her.
“Coach Jones means the world to me,” she flatly said. “She made me who I am today. When I met Coach Jones, I’ve known her since elementary school, once I got to middle school I started playing (varsity) my eighth grade year.
“We had our ups and downs at first but we got really close. She’s done a lot for me and she means the world to me. She’s like a second mom really.”