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Gate City students sign letters of intent with Division 1 universities

ZEKE NEWTON, TriCitiesSports.com • Nov 8, 2017 at 8:53 PM

GATE CITY — A pair of Gate City seniors made the official decision to continue their academic and athletic careers on Wednesday.

Mac McClung and Chance Taylor each made it official on Wednesday’s Early National Signing Day that they are continuing their standout athletic careers at Division 1 universities.

McClung, whose stock rose this summer to a three-star recruit thanks to highlight-reel dunks that landed him on ESPN’s SportsCenter, signed to play in the nation’s capital for former Hall of Fame player Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas.

“Playing for Coach Ewing is a great opportunity because he knows what it’s like to be a pro,” said McClung. “He knows that’s my goal, and I believe he gives me my best chance of making it.”

On Oct. 15, McClung chose Georgetown over 32 other Division I offers, including Boston College, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Marshall and ETSU, with a verbal commitment on his Twitter page.

The Gate City senior was excited to make the decision official Wednesday and sign on the dotted line.

“It’s a big day,” said McClung. “I’m very grateful to have this opportunity to represent the hard work that we’ve gone through, but now it’s time to get better and go to practice.”

“Just a few years ago, Mac was here watching one of our players sign, and he had this look in his eye,” reflected Gate City basketball coach Scott Vermillion. “I remember him telling me, ‘Coach that’s going to be me one day.’ I think he was in eighth grade then, so that’s a neat thing to see.

“The recruiting process really exploded after last season on the AAU circuit,” added Vermillion. “From there, he was certainly looking for the big time offer, and he got a few of those. However, at the end of the day it came down to the way that he felt when he went to Georgetown. And you know, Patrick Ewing, how can you pass that up?”

McClung has been an AA first team all-state selection the previous two years. He’ll have a chance in 2018 to make it a three-peat and help lead his team to its first state championship in program history.

Speaking of a state title, now that the recruitment process is officially over, McClung says he has just one goal.

“Winning a state championship, that’s all I’m worried about.”

McClung wasn’t the only Blue Devil signing on Wednesday, as standout golfer Chance Taylor signed to continue his career at Tennessee Tech.

“I went down to Cookeville for a visit and really liked the school and the facilities,” explained Taylor. “However, I guess the main reason I picked Tennessee Tech was the coaching. He’s (Tech coach Polk Brown) a really good guy, and I think I can succeed under him.”

Last month, Taylor finished tied for third in the VHSL AA state championship, just five strokes off the title.

In late September, Taylor showed off his skill, shooting a remarkable 61 at Lonesome Pine Country Club in the Region 2D tournament.

“That day I hit the ball about as good as I ever have, and I also made my putts,” Taylor reflected. “Everything was working that day.”

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of Chance,” said Gate City golf coach Rhea McConnell. “He’s always worked at this. He’s the first kid I’ve coached, and I’m pretty sure he’s the first kid from Gate City that’s gone Division I as a golfer. He’s going into a great situation at Tennessee Tech. I’m just super proud.”

All in all, Taylor said he’s enjoyed his career at Gate City and some of the memories he takes from it.

“I’ve had a lot of fun here throughout my high school career,” said Taylor. “I’ve just tried to make it as memorable of an experience as possible.”

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