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Academics stressed at former athletes forum

Posted: June 18, 2014 - 8:16am

The NexStep Student-Athlete Academy played host to a preparation for student-athlete success forum at North Augusta High School on Friday.

Former Silver Bluff and Wake Forest standout and NexStep Founder/President De’Angelo Bryant said the forum is meant to educate high school athletes on the advantages of being prepared for the next level.

“The purpose of this event is to educate student-athletes, coaches and parents on the process and what it takes to make it to the next level,” Bryant said.

“Some of these kids don’t know about core GPA, test taking or going through the NCAA clearinghouse process. We want to help young people grow in the educational side of athletics.”

The forum featured a panel of former area athletes who went on to play at the college and pro levels.

Panelists included former Silver Bluff standouts Corey Chavous, Troy Williamson and Brandon Wallace; Brian Leonardi, Brian Staley, Antwan Smith and Mykal Moore, of Aiken; Brian Danforth and Reggie Merriweather, of North Augusta; and Byron Bush, of South Aiken.

The panel fielded questions from audience members on a range of subjects. From NCAA academic and testing requirements to how to balance school and practice, a number of areas were covered.

Moore, who played one year of baseball at Anderson University, talked about making an impact on and off the field of play.

“I didn’t fit in on the field, but because I took care of my academics, I’ve been able to excel without it,” Moore said.

Williamson, a University of South Carolina product who was selected seventh in the 2005 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings, said he wishes he had had a program to help him understand the consequences of his early choices about his education.

“I was doing enough to get by,” Williamson said. “If I knew that I was talented before the 11th grade, I would have worked harder on my grades.”

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