UNION COUNTY — With the stroke of a pen Wednesday morning three Union County High School Yellow Jackets chose to continue their athletic and educational careers at three different colleges with one of them also joining the military.
During a ceremony held Wednesday morning at the CATE Center, Yellow Jackets Quadrik Smith, Will Horlacher, and Michael Purdie signed letters of intent with Limestone College, Presbyterian College, and USC Lancaster, respectively. All three are currently members of the Union County High School Football Team and members of the Class of 2018 and will graduate this year.
Smith will play football for Limestone and Horlacher will play football for Presbyterian while Purdie will play baseball for USC Lancaster.
Smith, who said he has been playing football since he was five years old and is a wide receiver for the Yellow Jackets, said he chose Limestone because of the family atmosphere he experienced there.
“I chose Limestone because they treat you like family,” Smith said. “The coaches treated me like their own son.”
Smith said he plans to major in Business and Administration at Limestone.
Looking back over his time with the Yellow Jackets, Smith said it has been “a great four years” with the team improving its performance over that time.
“It’s been a great four years playing here,” Smith said. “My freshman year we didn’t do so good. Sophomore year we went to the Upperstate Championship. Junior year we went to the second round of the playoffs. That’s when Coach Adams got here. Senior year we went to the first round of the playoffs. It’s been a great four years.”
Horlacher, who said he has been playing football since he was seven years old and has played tight end and quarterback and punted for the Yellow Jackets, said he chose Presbyterian because of its prestige and the opportunity it provides him to continue playing football and getting his education.
“PC is real prestigious,” Horlacher said. “It’s a good place to further my education and continue to play football.”
Horlacher said he will major in History with a minor in Education at Presbyterian.
In looking back on his years with the Yellow Jackets, Horlacher said he was proud to have been part not only of the team, but of the great football tradition of Union County.
“It’s definitely been some of the best years of my life,” Horlacher said. “Union County is a football county and I’m just glad to have been part of something bigger than myself these past four years.”
In addition to signing with Presbyterian College, Horlacher has also enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves. He said he did in order to help him get his education and to continue his family’s tradition of military service.
“I have family who have prior military service (and) I want to continue that,” Horlacher said. “It’s also a good way to pay for school.”
Purdie, who said he has been playing football since he was about seven or eight years old and played wide receiver for the Yellow Jackets, said he chose USC Lancaster because of its size.
“It’s not too big, it’s not too small,” Purdie said. “It’s a good place to get a start before I go to a bigger school.”
While he said he is still deciding, Purdie said in all likelihood he will major in Communications at USC Lancaster.
Unlike Smith and Horlacher, however, Purdie will not be playing football in college, but baseball. He said that he chose to play baseball in college because that is the sport he is better at.
As for his four years with the Yellow Jackets, Purdie said they had their ups and downs, but that the friendships he made during that time will continue long after graduation.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride, we had some good times, we had some bad times,” Purdie said. “But the connections I made with people over these four years will never be broken.”
UCHS Athletic Director and Football Coach Bradley Adams also attended Wednesday’s ceremony and praised Smith, Horlacher, and Purdie for the choices they’ve made, not only in continuing their athletic careers, but their educational careers and the impact it will have on their lives.
“We’re very proud of these young men,” Adams said. “We try to encourage them to go to college and choose a good career path. We feel they are making the right choices with the decisions they are making. They are very excited and very ambitious about the opportunities they chose.”