RINCON — A pair of top-notch South Effingham athletes are set to take a swing at college.
One, Liam Rickman, swings a powerful right leg and the other, Jacob Fripp, swings a golf club. They are headed to Georgia State University and York College of Pennsylvania, respectively.
“Liam — a little bit about him — is the best kicker I have been around in all my coaching career,” South Effingham head football coach Nathan Clark said during a signing ceremony Monday. “He is an absolute weapon. He kicks everything into the end zone on kickoffs, which is just an incredible advantage for the team.
“That is really going to be missed next year here at South. We know he will do a tremendous job in Atlanta for Georgia State.”
The Sun Belt Conference Panthers are also getting a dependable placekicker. His longest field goal for the Mustang covered 50 yards.
“He’s probably going to be best remembered here for two game-winning kicks,” Clark said. “When he was a sophomore, we beat a really highly ranked Jenkins team here at home on a kick that Liam converted there at the end of the game. Then this year, everybody will remember the kick he made against Wayne County to turn out victorious.
“To make two game-winning field goals, that’s awesome. We all knew that he was going to make it.”
Rickman earned All-Region 2-AAAAAA honors in 2021 and was listed as one of the top nation’s top kickers by multiple recruiting services.
Clark said Rickman takes weight training very seriously.
“He has a 300-pound bench press and a 500-pound squat,” Clark said.
Rickman also excelled in soccer and is a fine student. He boasts a 3.9 GPA and made 30 on the ACT.
“I’m really proud of Liam,” Clark said. “He is an awesome young man and he is still working hard in the weight room. He is a pleasure to be around.”
Rickman, joined by his family, thanked Clark for helping him over the years. He also expressed “special” gratitude to his mother, Julie.
“I remember my sophomore year,” he said, “we spent all summer — after practice if we stayed there — and she helped collect my balls. From then on, it has been a journey that I have always loved.”
“I couldn’t have done it without her or anyone else sitting at this table.
Rickman also voiced appreciation for his football and soccer teammates.
Fripp, who shared a signing ceremony with Rickman, also had assistance from his family to advance to the NCAA Division III Spartans in Spring Garden Township, Pa.
“When I first met Jacob, I met his dad and grandddaddy,” former South Effingham golf coach Mitchell Curry said. “Mr. O’Malley came over to me and said, ‘Good afternoon. I’m Jacob’s golf coach.’ I said, ‘Yes, sir. I understand.’
“I’m just a facillitator.”
Curry thanked Fripp’s family supporting all the Mustangs golfers.
Fripp’s determination to succeed is his primary attribute, Curry said.
“When Jacob came on as a freshman, we had a couple good golfers that were already on the team. But Jacob came to me first off and said he wanted to be No. 1 — the No. 1 golfer,” the coach recalled. “As a freshman, he was less than one shot away from being No. 1 for the whole year. The other guy is playing college golf as well so that was quite an accomplishment.
“He is a great student, a great athlete, a great golfer and we appreciate everything that he has done for our school and our golf program, along with his parents and grandparents.”