Nick Bliss is a homebody; so when it came to where he wanted to play college football, being close to home was a priority. Teammates Myleek Gould and Andy Ferrer just wanted an opportunity to play at the next level.
All three Richmond Hill football players got their wish as they signed national letters of intent last Wednesday: Bliss is going to Georgia Southern as a preferred walk-on, Gould, a cornerback, is going to the College of Wooster and defensive lineman Ferrer is headed to Wingate University.
Bliss was holding out a ray of hope that he might get an offer from Mercer where his brother, Tommy, is a defensive back. But when the Eagles came calling, he jumped at their proposal.
“First of all, they’re close to home which is a great spot to be in,” said Bliss who was entertaining other offers after being named the Offensive Player of the Year in Region 1-7A. “I like being around my area, my people, and when they called I was excited.
“When I got my offer, they let me know my role and that I was going to be a receiver, that I was going to touch the ball a lot,” Bliss said. “They’re one of the top passing teams in FBS so I definitely know I’ll get opportunities to touch the ball. I think that’s important.
“With Mercer I wish it had grown more than it did. Unfortunately, I don’t think I was what they were looking for but things turned out the way I wanted it to go so I can’t complain.”
Bliss had an outstanding season for the Wildcats as he was a key factor in Richmond Hill returning to the state playoffs after a year’s absence.
Playing in what everyone acknowledges to be the toughest region top-to-bottom in Class 7A and one loaded in offensive talent the 5-foot-9, 170-pound Bliss led the region in all-purpose yards with 1,489 yards and his 126 yards were second to Colquitt’s Ny’Quavion Carr’s 128.
As a preferred walk-on, Bliss will be permitted to go through summer camp with the Eagles which will include housing and meals. However, once school starts his school expenses will be on him.
“It’s an opportunity,” Bliss said. “That’s all I want…an opportunity to compete. I’ll be competing for a spot on the travel roster and a scholarship.”
“It’s going to take a whole bunch of hard work, more than I’ve ever done here. I’m going to have to step up to that level; I’m going to have to get ready to compete against the best competition I’ve ever played against. It’s the real deal but that’s what I’ve been working for. I’m ready for it and excited for it.”
The College of Wooster is a Division III member of the North Coast Athletic Conference and is an outstanding academic institution with a rich football history. It’s a school which Gould said meets his career objectives.
“They’ve got a great engineering program,” Gould said. “It was not just an athletic decision for me, but an academic one, too.”
Gould admitted when the recruiting process started, he knew nothing about Wooster which–incidentally–had seven players from Georgia on its roster last fall. The school has an enrollment of 2,000 and is located in northeastern Ohio in the Cleveland-Akron-Canton triangle.
Gould said he and the Wildcats’ coaching staff did the recruiting, so to speak, in that he had a recruiting video which was sent out to schools in addition to being posted on social media.
“I hadn’t heard about any schools in Ohio,” Gould said. “I was just focused on schools in Georgia. We posted a link to my recruiting video on Twitter [now X] and they reached out to me.
“When I started checking out the school, the defense they played which is a lot like what we do here and the way they showed interest in me it became an easy decision.”
It didn’t hurt that the Flying Scots’ colors are also black and gold, same as the Wildcats.
Ferrer will be going to Wingate, a DII program which plays in the South Atlantic Conference and is located in Wingate, N.C., with a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
The big defensive tackle thought he was going to Shorter University. However, in these days of the transfer portal, things can change in a hurry as high school athletes often learn late in the recruiting process that avenues can be cut off.
“It started [recruiting process with Wingate] when I had a problem with Shorter,” Ferrer said. “Their roster filled up quickly so I couldn’t commit. Wingate wasn’t a school I was on to but I ended up posting on Twitter that I still needed a home.
“I had texted the Wingate coach my highlights a year ago so he texted me back this year and invited me to visit,” Ferrer said. “Last week I went up there and really liked it.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play in college,” Ferrer said. “They’re getting a 6-2 guy who weighs 310 pounds who can move really fast off the ball, can really track a guy down, hold up the line and nobody gets past him.
“I wanted an opportunity. Wingate is giving it to me and I’m going to show them I appreciate it.”