Written by David Mann
Darton College head golf coach Bill Jones signed five incoming freshmen student-athletes to his 2012-2013 roster in a ceremony today at Darton.
Taylor Martin, of Braselton, JP Pearce, of Jacksonville, Fla., Von Stripling, of Moultrie, Madison Turner, of Canton, and Tyler Vaughn, of Douglas, all signed National Letters Of Intent to Darton College, which is currently ranked No. 4 in NJCAA D-I golf.
“With three NJCAA national championships won, and having 10-straight Region XVII titles, excellence is expected at Darton College,” Jones said. “We are proud to announce these players today, and look forward to their growth, both academically and athletically, here at Darton College, and the continued success of our golf program.”
Pearce, son of Jeff and Jennifer, brings Junior Amateur playing experience and was first-team all-conference at Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville.
“He’s really solid – definitely a (NCAA) D-I caliber player,” Jones said. “We might be able to turn him into a big-time stud – maybe like Joe (Sakulpolphaisan, Darton sophomore, ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA).”
Turner comes to Darton from Milton High School, whose golf team placed second at the Georgia state high school championships in 2011. He is the son of Jill and Chad, and brother to Ren, Sam and Adeline.
Martin, who, like Turner, is from the Atlanta area, attends Mill Creek High School, where he was the low medalist at the state championships. He is the son of Michael and Lori, and brother of Garrett.
“I’ve been recruiting my Atlanta kids for a while now and both visited our campus this past fall,” Jones said. “They – well all of my Georgia recruits – are among top 30 in the state, according to the junior golf rankings.”
Stripling is a merit scholar at Colquitt County High School in Moultrie and plans to major in engineering at Darton. He is the son of Lavon and Beth, and brother to Lauren, Anna and Eli.
Vaughn is an honor graduate at Coffee High School in Douglas. He is the son of Andy and Carole, and brother of Andrea and Melissa.
“There’s always some good local talent in South Georgia,” Jones said, referring to Vaughn and Stripling. “Evening if they’re not ranked that high, it may be because they haven’t played in some of the big-time tournaments – which doesn’t mean they don’t have the talent. They’ll be big time next year.”
Jones said that each of these student-athletes was hand-picked to continue the success that the Darton College golf program has enjoyed season after season.
“They’re all solid,” he said. “We don’t have a weak link anywhere among these five.”
*Pictured: from left to right, back row, Dale Dover, director of golf operations and Bill Jones, head Darton golf coach. Front row: Tyler Vaughn, Madison Turner, JP Pearce, Taylor Martin and Von Stripling.