Feb. 8—TIFTON — Damion Moate joined a special group of athletes nationwide Wednesday, signing a letter of intent to play college football on National Signing Day.
Moate, Tift County High's dynamo running back, will continue his football career at Presbyterian College, located in Clinton, South Carolina.
Not every athlete gets to play his or her sport collegiately, pointed out Tift interim head coach Russell Coker.
"He has a very, very special opportunity to go on in life and do the thing that he loves, which is play football," Coker said.
Coker was one of a trio of coaches to speak in support of Moate, who has excelled in not only football, but in wrestling and track and field. Moate will be among the favorites in the upcoming Class 6A state wrestling tournament.
All coaches have raved over Moate's work ethic as an athlete, and as a student. "He excels in the classroom," said Coker, "which is very important in order to get to the next level."
Wrestling head coach Shawn Watson described Moate as a "silent leader" and "a blessing." Track's head coach J.C. Clark said he's one of the hardest workers at TCHS.
"He has done everything on the field, as well as off the field," Coker said. Clark said Moate's "work ethics goes without saying."
Presbyterian announced 33 committed to the program on National Signing Day. Seventeen are on offense, 15 on defensive and a special teams specialist.
In an article on PC's football website, head coach Steve Englehart said he was "[V]ery pleased with the outcome of our National Signing Day class."
Though many of the signees were from South Carolina, Moate will have a few new teammates from Georgia, though only one other one is from outside the Metro Atlanta area: Chris Vickerson of Columbus' Brookstone.
In a short speech, Moate thanked his coaches and his teammates for giving him a great year, as well as his parents.
"Y'all know I love you," he said. "Y'all boys have my back; I've got your back." Moate said they could call him for anything. "Put God first," he said, adding he wouldn't be anything without Him.
Moate was a two-year starter for the Blue Devils at running back, scoring 14 touchdowns. Though all 14 were rushing scores, Moate was more than capable of catching a ball out of the backfield.
As a senior, he ran 213 times for 1,002 yards. His rushing yardage game of the campaign came against Thomasville, where he gained 187 yards. He ran for three touchdowns against Northside, which saw him gain 135 yards.
Coker said Moate gained more than 900 ground yards as a junior. His top yardage game was 190 versus Veterans. He was named first team All-Region both years.
Moate backed up Zach Carter as a sophomore, and did well as Carter's injury replacement in a win over Worth County.
"He's well over 2,000 yards for us in his career as a running back," said Coker.
On the mat, Moate is a two-time region champion and placed third at the 2023 state meet.