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Seniors will play football at college level
Marks signing
North Forsyth’s Ryan Marks has signed a letter of intent with Furman University. - photo by David McGregor
National Signing Day has come and gone, but the excitement hasn’t waned for local high school seniors, who are thrilled about their opportunities to play college football.

In all, six Forsyth County players signed last week with NCAA programs, including two from North Forsyth High School — Ryan Marks and Steven Hester.

Marks is headed for Furman University in Greenville, S.C., while Hester will spend his college days at Division II Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C.

Marks, an offensive lineman, faxed his letter over to the Division I school bright and early Feb. 3.

“It was the end of a long road,” he said.

Marks, named first team All-Region 7-AAAAA this past season, said the Paladins have projected him to play tackle in his second year with the program.

“I’d probably like to get a year under my belt [redshirted] to get bigger and stronger and learn the offense,” said Marks, who was also a Forsyth County News All-County selection.

He was one of three local players to sign with Southern Conference schools this year, joining two from Forsyth Central. He looks forward to meeting those guys in conference play over the next few years.

“I think [it’ll be] a lot of fun,” Marks said. “It’ll be kind of cool to play against [the other players from Forsyth County] ... and keep up with how they’re doing.”

Marks credited Brandon Seigler, his offensive line coach at North, and head coach Jared Zito for influencing his development in football.

“They’ve had me be a leader on and off the field,” he said of his coaches. “They taught me my position on the field and how I can help the team out the most.”

Zito has described Marks as a source of stability and leadership on the offensive line.

“He will make the Raiders proud at the next level,” the coach said.

Hester, who was a three-way player for the Raiders, signed the official letter with Lenoir-Rhyne at his home early Feb. 3.

“It was incredible,” he said of the feeling after securing his spot with the Bears.

“The recruiting process was finally over and I was finally set on where I was going and it felt good.”

Hester said the college coaches plan to play him as a true freshman, allowing him to share time at fullback in his first year on campus.

He made first team All-Region 7-AAAAA last season as a defensive back and won the athlete of the year slot on the FCN’s All-County team for his work on offense, defense and special teams.

“Steven has been a major part of our program’s success for the last three years and his impact will be hard to replace,” Zito said.

West Forsyth High School also had two college football signees, as did Forsyth Central.

West’s Nathan Teter won’t be too far from home, having signed with the University of West Georgia in Carrollton.

Teter made his decision official Feb. 3 at Milton High School, where his letter of intent was faxed to West Georgia.

Later in the day, he was part of a set of signing ceremonies at Andretti Indoor Karting and Games in Roswell.

“It was a great experience just to finally get this done, and I’ve been working for it since I was 7 years old, so it was a good experience for me,” Teter said.

The second team All-Region 7-AAA inside linebacker believes he has a strong chance to take the field for the Division II Wolves after an initial redshirt season this fall.

West head coach Frank Hepler has described Teter as dominant, noting that he led the Wolverines in tackles despite missing almost half his senior season due to injury [NEED TO CQ].

“He is a good leader and he will be a stud on the college level,” Hepler said.

Teter said he enjoyed his three seasons with the Wolverines — he attended South Forsyth his freshman year, before West opened — but is definitely ready to move on.

“Probably [what I’m most looking forward to is] getting out of the high school environment and getting to play actual college ball,” he said.

West’s other signee last week was running back Ben Emert, who committed to Wake Forest University of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Both Emert and Teeter were FCN All-County picks.

Forsyth Central’s Sean Mateer is an All-Region 6-AAAA long snapper who also played linebacker for the Bulldogs.

He is one of four players from Georgia to sign this year with Western Carolina University, where he is slated to play defensive end for the Division I Catamounts.

“It was a huge relief [knowing it was official],” Mateer said of signing his letter of intent Feb. 3 at home.

With high school teammate Kasey Morrison set to play on conference rival Samford’s offensive line, there’s a good chance the former Bulldogs and All-County selections will match up against each other on the line of scrimmage.

Mateer said the part of his high school experience that sticks out most is the work ethic his coaches instilled in him.

Central head coach Chris Bennett has praised Mateer’s contributions to the team.

He noted the Bulldogs didn’t have a blocked punt in the two years Mateer served as the team’s long snapper.