3 Easley athletes sign with colleges

EASLEY — Last Wednesday was a special day for Easley High School, in particular Green Wave head football coach Chad Smith.
Two of Smith’s football players signed with colleges to continue their careers on the next level. In addition, Emily Lewis — a Green Wave standout in track and cross-country — signed to continue her athletic career at Clemson University. Smith had worked with Lewis as a member of the EHS track coaching staff.
EHS quarterback Zach Lappin signed with Mars Hill College, while Brandaun Addison inked to play cornerback for Gardner-Webb University.
Lappin was a four-year starter at Easley High who led the team through some of its toughest times as well as its best seasons in almost a generation.
Starting as a freshman, Lappin struggled through the 2008 season as the Green Wave finished 0-11. Lappin returned in 2009, but an injury cut his season short. The Green Wave finished the year 1-10. In 2010, Smith became the Green Wave coach. Lappin came back from his injury to lead the Green Wave to a 9-4 season, with Easley falling one game short of playing for the Upperstate championship.
Last season, Lappin led the Green Wave to an 11-2 record. Both losses came to Region I-AAAA champion Greenwood.
“Zach has been very loyal,” said Smith.
Smith said that through the tough years, quitting never crossed Lappin’s mind.
“Kids today often do not want to do what is required to be successful,” Smith said. “That has never been the case with Zach.”
Mars Hill finished last season with an 8-3 record and a 6-1 record in the South Atlantic Conference, tying Lenoir-Rhyne for the conference title. The Lions lost to North Greenville in the first round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs.
The Lions have only two returning players listed as quarterbacks on their roster, and both will be seniors next season, so Lappin could see action early in his collegiate career.
Addison played both ways for the Green Wave last season, also serving as a running back. Addison accounted for 1,488 all-purpose yards last season and returned an interception 62 yards on the defensive side of the ball, earning all-region honors for the Green Wave last season.
Addison chose Gardner-Webb over Western Carolina. Addison is one of 23 signees announced by the school last week, and one of just two defensive backs signed.
Gardner-Webb is coached by Ron Dickerson, Jr., entering his second season after finishing 2011 with a 4-7 record. Dickerson is the son of former Clemson assistant and former Temple head coach Ron Dickerson, Sr.
Smith said when he came to Easley High School three years ago as strength coach, Lappin and Addison were two of the first players that he met because of their dedication to working hard.
“These guys have to see stuff as it comes in, just having faith that their hard work will produce better results,” Smith said. “They are extremely fun to be around.”
Smith predicted that Lappin and Addison will be better college football players than they were high school players because of their willingness to work hard to improve.
Smith also said Lewis impressed him during his time with the track team because of her work ethic.
EHS track coach Greg Fish, who has only coached cross country for two seasons, was impressed as well.
“I can’t say enough about Emily Lewis,” Fish said. Fish said that Lewis’ disciplined approach to training is a key to her success.
EHS athletic director Chris Carter said last week’s three signings were just the beginning for the Easley athletic program.
“We have several athletes who will be signing but who haven’t completed their deal yet,” Carter said.
Carter said the signings were the kind of things that happen “when you match hard work with the will to be the best.”