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Brad White made what amounted to a business decision when he gave up his favorite sport the summer before his freshman year at Plant.
Unconvinced that he would ever be big or fast enough to compete at a high level in soccer, White decided to take up the sport he only played leisurely with his father – golf.
Three years later, White’s prescient decision to switch sports paid off when he signed a golf scholarship to Guilford College in North Carolina.
“It was me being realistic with myself,” White said. “If you’re going to put in that amount of time, I wanted to be successful at it and have it pan out.”
White was one of four Plant athletes to sign with college programs Wednesday, which marks the start of the NCAA's early signing period for most sports other than football. The national letter of intent signed by the athletes is binding.
Panthers baseball stars 3B Pete Alonso and LHP John Suskauer signed with Florida and North Florida, respectively. Blair Martin, two-time Times' girls tennis player of the year, will attend Furman.
Alonso, a two-time first-team all-county selection, led all public school hitters with a .485 average and also had 24 RBIs, 11 doubles, six home runs and a .912 slugging percentage.
Plant coach Dennis Braun said the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Alonso could eventually follow in the footsteps of former Florida and Panthers star Preston Tucker, who was a seventh-round draft pick of the Houston Astros in June.
“I do think the sky is the limit here,” Braun said.
Suskauer, a 6-1, 185-pound lefty, threw 28 innings for Plant last season and compiled a 3-0 record, 2.25 ERA and 17 strikeouts.
Martin and her teammate Gabrielle Rodriguez went undefeated and won their second straight state doubles championship last year. She was also a district and regional champion.
Meanwhile, White finished his high school career last month by finishing second in the Class 2A state tournament. He also led Plant to a district title and second-place finish in Class 2A, Region 3.
Last week, White was selected to the All-Western Conference team.
“This is a dream come true,” said his mother, Gail White. “He’s really developed a passion for the game and accomplished quite a lot in a short time.”