GUYTON — It was a long time coming for recent South Effingham graduate Jaydon Parrish. The four-year varsity star for the Mustangs soccer team has committed to LaGrange College.
Although Parrish has every skill imaginable to play at the next level and is a scoring machine, recruiters did not heavily target him because of his small frame.
“It’s always something I’ve wanted to do since I’ve started playing,” Parrish said. “It’s a dream come true.”
Despite his lack of stature — he stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 140 pounds — Parrish had a huge impact in every game he played for the Mustangs. Still, he wondered if he would get to play in college despite scoring 100 career goals — far and away the South Effingham record.
Parrish reached out to the coaching staff at LaGrange College, which started pursuing him shortly after seeing his highlight reel. Although he received interest from Thomas University and Brewton-Parker, Parrish wanted to find a school that met his needs in and outside the classroom.
“It’s the only school that I was interested in,” Parrish said. “I wanted a school that was going to challenge me academically as well as athletically.”
And Parrish has been no slouch since receiving his offer. He’s adapted to the Panthers’ workout regimen, knowing it’s imperative to be ready for college level play in three months.
“I’ve already been preparing,” Parrish said. “Three days a week, I’ve been doing their fitness program. My brother has been helping me, too.”
Parrish, who helped the Mustangs win three consecutive Region 2-AAAAA titles, has figured out what it takes to be successful at the next level. It starts with mental toughness, he said.
“I think the best thing I could transfer from high school is a winning mentality,” Parrish said. “If you have a couple games in college and you hit a slump, I think you should stick to what your coach wants you to do and the process.”
Parrish employs a take-no-prisoners approach and he plans to find his next victim while competing in the USA South Conference.
“To be honest, it was like that coming into high school,” Parrish said. “I saw the schedule and Statesboro was the game I always looked forward to. I probably won’t have one this year but in years to come I will probably have a team that I am really going to get my target towards.”