By SAM McGAW
Close friends Gavin Schoenwald, Camron Johnson and Darius Garland insist they didn’t influence each other when they each chose the college they’d continue their athletic careers at.
On Wednesday, the Brentwood Academy trio was recognized for its commitment to compete at Vanderbilt on National Signing Day.
Garland signed to play basketball for the Commodores in November, while Johnson and Schoenwald signed with the football program in December.
“We’re trying to bring a winning culture to Vanderbilt in both sports,” said Garland, a five-star point guard. “We’ve been together since fourth grade, so to have another couple of years together is going to be crazy.”
Garland, Johnson and Schoenwald have been major factors in BA’s winning culture over the past four years.
The trio has won three consecutive state basketball championships together. This past fall, Schoenwald and Johnson helped lead the football team to a state title three-peat.
“When we came to BA, BA wasn’t the school that was winning; it was Ensworth,” said Schoenwald, who was an all-state selection at quarterback this past season. “We didn’t just come into a winning program, like (Kevin) Durant going to Golden State. We want to do the same thing at Vandy. We want to bring a championship culture and hopefully we change everybody’s mindset. If that takes four years, then it takes four years. I fully expect to get a championship someday.”
Johnson, a four-star wide receiver, had scholarship offers from several Football Bowl Subdivision schools, but he said he loved the opportunities Vanderbilt had to offer.
“It’s SEC football, it’s a great education and it’s close to home,” he said. “The fact my two best friends are going adds on to it, but that wasn’t the deciding factor. I also really enjoy the coaching staff.”
In total, BA recognized 18 student-athletes that signed letters of intent.
Outside linebacker Luke Knox signed to play football at Ole Miss after it offered him a full-ride scholarship Tuesday night. His brother, Dawson, plays tight end for the Rebels.
“I just got to meet (Ole Miss linebacker coach Jon Sumrall) and got really close with him,” Knox said. “I think meeting him and getting closer to (head coach Matt Luke) made me a lot more comfortable with my decision.”
BA linebacker Jackson Sirmon signed with Washington, cornerback Daniel Taylor inked with the United States Naval Academy and cornerback Kenyon Garlington signed with Tennessee State University.
Graham Tulloch signed to play baseball at Middle Tennessee State University.
Allie Raab signed to swim at Stanford University, while Meredith Helton will run cross country and track at Wake Forest.
Jessie Brown signed to play softball at North Alabama.
Lauren Hadley Trammell will play tennis at Lee University.
Coleman Jones joined Belmont’s golf team and Alex Cobb signed to play golf at Tennessee-Chattanooga.
Katherine Tyner inked to play soccer at High Point and Jennifer Jestings signed to play soccer at Samford.
Kailey Searcy joined Western Kentucky University’s women’s basketball team, while Makaila Wilson signed to play basketball at Radford University.