Brookhaven Academy’s Watson, Evans join Co-Lin

Published 9:00 pm Friday, May 10, 2013

It was a blue and white Thursday in Brookhaven Academy’s high school library. Two versatile senior athletes, Matthew Evans and Graham Watson, signed scholarships with Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

Evans, a 3-sport star, signed a baseball scholarship with the Wolfpack. Graham, a 2-sport star, signed a tennis scholarship. Both signing ceremonies were celebrated with applause from friends, family and fellow classmates.

Watson (5-8, 140) said he was looking forward to playing tennis at Co-Lin. He played No. 1 doubles for the BA Cougars. He and Zac Smith won the MAIS Class AA South State Tournament and advanced to the state tourney.

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“I’m probably best at serving and ground strokes,” said Watson. “I’ll probably play doubles at Co-Lin.”

Watson has a new coach in Brenda Smith. She replaces Mike McIntyre who retired after 38 years.

“I really like what Coach Smith will be doing with our team,” said Watson. He plans to play summer tennis in preparation for fall practice.

Smith said she was happy to have Watson on her squad. “Graham has a big serve and a big forehand. He has a lot of speed, so he can excel in doubles and singles.”

Smith watched the BA boys win the MAIS State Tournament on Wednesday at Ridgeland Tennis Center. She plans to sign three more prep stars to Co-Lin pacts.

Previously signed this spring were Coleman Carraway of Brandon and Brandon Nettles of Wesson. Smith has one sophomore returning in Josh Smith.

BA tennis coach David Misner has been coaching Watson for several years. He said Watson’s future was bright.

“Graham only played tennis seriously for two years,” said Misner. “He has developed a really good game in that span of time.

“Obviously, he has played more doubles and singles but he will figure out what it takes to play singles. He’s a fast learner.”

Misner said, Watson “is extremely quick covering the court. He has a great serve, once he gets consistent. He will only get better. He will help Co-Lin.”

He is the son of Ronnie and Lynn Watson. He plans to pursue a career in engineering.

Evans (5-11, 155) impressed new Co-Lin coach Clay Smith during last Sunday’s 5-hour tryout camp. Around 65 players participated.

“I’m excited and ready to play,” said Evans. He played shortstop and second base during his high school career and did some pitching.

The 18-year-old son of Jerry and Sherylyn Evans is considering a career in the medical field. He is an honor graduate and president of the National Honor Society.

“Co-Lin has a weightlifting program that I’ll be in this summer,” said Evans.

Coach Smith, named last month to replaced Keith Case at the helm of Co-Lin baseball fortunes, has been an assistant coach at Belhaven University for the last 10 years. He was in charge of recruiting.

“Matthew is a good athlete and he has played a lot of sports,” said Smith. “I know he can play a lot of positions for us. He play the infield or the outfield. He might pitch a little bit, too.”

Smith said he plans to conduct another tryout camp after the state baseball playoffs are completed. “The last camp lasted five hours. We wanted to make sure we gave everybody a shot.”

Co-Lin lost its starting third baseman, second baseman, first baseman and catcher to graduation. Ryan Young returns at shortstop.

Smith said he had two out of state scholarships left and those would probably go to pitchers.

Brookhaven Academy baseball coach Casey Edwards said Evans was a valuable part of his team that achieved the semifinals in the South State AA playoffs.

He batted .303, hit 2 homers and stole 15 bases. His favorite Major League Baseball team is the Houston Astros.

“Matthew was a full-time starter in three sports for three years,” said Edwards. “That speaks well for his athleticism.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the best baseball from Matthew,” Edwards pointed out. “When he focuses all his attention of baseball, we will really see him blossom.”

Evans was a standout player in football as a wide receiver and defensive back, helping the Cougars win the state championship last November. He played point guard in basketball as the Cougars won district, finished runners-up in the South and placed third at state.

Earlier this year, BA teammate Gage Posey signed a baseball scholarship with Hinds Community College.