Bulldogs land 36 on first signing day

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Casting a wide net across the state of North Carolina, Barton College football coach Chip Hester turned up a haul of 36 young men Wednesday on National Signing Day, the first for the NCAA Division II program in its third edition of football.

Of the 36 players who will suit up for the Bulldogs when they take the field in 2020, 33 are from North Carolina, including Christian Phaby of Hunt and Daymon Kardesoglu of Beddingfield. The list includes a trio of players from North Carolina High School Athletic Association championship teams in 2018 in Tarboro’s Hunter Medford, East Forsyth’s Quayon Gilbert and Wake Forest’s Isaiah Dickens. Hester also picked up two recruits from South Carolina and one from Virginia.

The 36 players signed by Hester on Wednesday will all take a redshirt season in 2019 as Barton prepares for its return to the gridiron in 2020. Previously the college, then known as Atlantic Christian, played intercollegiate football from 1920 to 1930 and then again from 1946 to 1950.

“It’s a great day to be a Barton Bulldog,” Hester said in a release from the school. “Today is another historic day for Barton College Football.  National Signing Day is the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication by the young men and their families. It also represents bold vision and preparation by the Barton College community.”

The Bulldogs’ inaugural signing class will practice next fall and hold spring practice in 2020 as Hester and defensive coordinator Treiston Burnette prepare for the Sept. 5, 2020, opener against Newberry College in the turf-field stadium currently under construction on the Barton campus.

Hester could possibly sign more players for his first class and will have another recruiting class in 2020 leading into the inaugural season. But his first 36 will be special.

“We’ve signed a distinctive group of young men who have committed to be uncommon,” added Hester. “They look forward to receiving a great education while making history on the football field. These young men have accepted the challenge, and I can’t wait to coach the group.”