Local football stars announce college plans


By Justin Jarrett


From Alabama to Texas and all the way to Boston, football stars with Beaufort roots made news this week.

Former Whale Branch and Wofford running back Irvin Mulligan has a new home, and Beaufort High multisport standout Michael Dennison and former Eagles defensive lineman Eamon Smalls both joined Mulligan in announcing their college choices on social media Tuesday.

Mulligan will continue his collegiate career at Jackson State University after three seasons at Wofford in which he compiled 1,329 rushing yards with an average of seven yards per carry and 11 touchdowns. He led the Terriers in rushing in 2021, racking up 859 yards on 124 attempts with eight touchdowns, and topped 100 yards in six of 10 games, but he did not play this season.

Dennison is a star on the football field and the basketball court for the Eagles, and his work in a tight end/h-back role was key to Beaufort’s success running the ball all the way to a Class 3A state title. He will take his talents on the field and in the classroom to MIT to play Division III football for the Engineers.

Smalls played his senior season in Texas after helping the Eagles reach the state title game as a junior. He initially committed to West Virginia but reopened his recruitment this fall and announced Tuesday he will become a Blazer at UAB, where Super Bowl champion quarterback Trent Dilfer recently took over as head coach.

Beaufort star Kacy Fields is also weighing a number of options, including NCAA Division I opportunities at Jackson State and South Carolina State, as well as several Division II offers.

The early signing period for Division I football runs from Wednesday through Friday with the regular signing period for all divisions opening Feb. 1.

Justin Jarrett is the sports editor of The Island News and the founder of LowcoSports.com. He was the sports editor of the Island Packet and the Beaufort Gazette for 6½ years. He has a passion for sports and community journalism and a questionable sense of humor.

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