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SIGNING WEEK: Oakland County sends diverse group of athletes onto Division I colleges

   | Scott Burnstein

SIGNING WEEK: Oakland County sends diverse group of athletes onto Division I colleges

The ink was plentiful and spread across the Oakland County prep sports landscape, as a series of Metro Detroit’s best high school athletes penned National Letters of Intent to Division I colleges this past week.

The highest-profile signing came from Rochester, where James Young, the state’s top boys basketball player, sealed his deal with defending NCAA champion Kentucky. After playing the past three seasons at Troy, leading the Colts to back-to-back league titles the last two campaigns, the versatile 6-foot-6 swingman transferred to Rochester High School for his senior year. Averaging 25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists a game over the past two years, Young is considered the No. 5 player in the entire country according to ESPN.com. He announced his decision to become a future member of the UK Wildcats in a nationally-televised press conference.

Birmingham Detroit Country Day’s Austin Price, another one of the area's most dangerous boys basketball players, signed with Lehigh University, a rising mid-major power that made a run into the NCAA Sweet 16 last March. Price, a crafty 6-foot-2 combo guard, is set to join his older brother Jodan (DePaul) as a Division I scholarship-holder on the hardwood. The last two years, the Price brothers teamed on the floor to help lead the Yellowjackets to consecutive trips to the Class B final four.

Over at Southfield-Lathrup, Jonathan (Jon-Jon) Williams, arguably the county’s second-best boys hoopster behind James Young, signed with Toledo. Much like Young, Williams put up monster numbers last season, averaging close to 30 points, seven assists and seven rebounds per game. Williams’ classmate Sydni Davis, who is the top senior girls basketball player in the county, signed with Stetson, while Lathrup baseball star Johnny Slater inked with Michigan. Slater is a smooth-gloved outfielder who hit a robust .576 last year and shot up the recruiting ranks during the summer as a result of exemplary showings at a series of exposure camps.

At North Farmington, star volleyball players Kaitlyn Schoeppner and Nicayla Joyce and baseball standout Sterling Sharp signed their letters of intent in front of a local cable access channel’s television audience. Schoeppner signed with Mississippi State and Joyce signed with Winthrop University. The pair of imposing hitters led the Raiders to their first volleyball district title in school history last month. Sharp, a lanky, fireball-throwing hurler, inked with Eastern Michigan.

Lake Orion’s Nick Deeg, another coveted prospect on the diamond, signed with Central Michigan. A steely-eyed lefty, Deeg is a power pitcher extraordinaire, one of the area’s strikeout-leaders the past two springs.

Alex Waelchli, Deeg’s classmate at Lake Orion, signed with Oakland University for golf.

Seaholm sent more than a half-dozen prep stars to the Division I college level this week – Francesco Ruffino, Nancy Benda, Kathy Quigley, Tommy Bowman, Jordan Lennington, Andrea Gothard and Adam Susalla.

Ruffino, one of the best prep golfers in the nation, spurned a slew of colleges down south to stay close to home and inked with Michigan State. Benda will be taking her tennis talents out east and signed with Pittsburgh. Gothard, who just helped lead the Maples to a regional championship on the volleyball court, signed with Central Michigan and Quigley, who led the school’s girls lacrosse team to a state title last spring, signed with Michigan.

Bowman (soccer), Lennington (softball) and Susalla (lacrosse) all penned letters to University of Detroit-Mercy.

Waterford Mott’s Rachel Waynick and Oxford’s Autumn Servantez are set to be teammates in college on the softball diamond at the University of North Dakota. Both signed with North Dakota on Wednesday in separate ceremonies at their respective schools.

Bloomfield Hills Lahser’s Margaret Metzger will be college teammates with Kate Quigley from over at Seaholm on the lacrosse field up in Ann Arbor, as she also signed with Michigan. Metzger’s high school classmate, Elena Miller, will join Metzger and Quigley in the Big 10, signing with Northwestern for cross country.

South Lyon’s Chloe Reinig, a highly sought-after volleyball recruit is headed to the Big 10, too, and signed with Michigan State.

Rounding out Wednesday’s Division I signings, Farmington Hills Mercy’s Megan Tarrance signed with University of Detroit-Mercy for softball. Tarrance helped guide her Mercy prep squad to a district title last spring as a junior.