Terrell County football and basketball star Dekoven Ware signed with Delta State on Thursday. He was joined by, front, from left, principle Douglas Bell, mother Annette Ware, and father Claude Ware, as well as a group of coaches.
DAWSON — So this is where the final pivot comes for Dekoven Ware, one of the most talented and versatile athletes in Southwest Georgia. This is the final spin, the final rush and last big hit for Ware, who has left his mark at Terrell County High School on the court and under Friday night lights.
He’s leaving the Greenwave for the Mississippi Delta.
And he’s leaving with a smile.
Ware signed a letter of intent and accepted a football scholarship from Delta State on Friday morning among friends, family and coaches. His mother Annette is both, and Dekoven has always said he gets his drive from him mom, who was a basketball star at Terrell County and now is the girls assistant basketball coach.
Ware had help along the way and gives his older sister Tanae Davis-Cain, who led Terrell County to the girls state basketball title in 2005 and then was a star at Florida State, a lot of credit for helping him when he was growing up, and his brother Eric Burnett, who played football at Central Florida gets an assist.
But Friday was all about Ware, who can do it all. Ware, at 6-foot and 220 pounds, averaged a double-double and out-quicked and out-played much taller players and dominated the inside in basketball, helping lead the Greenwave to the Final Four in 2010 and the state title game in 2011.
“But my first love is football,’’ said Ware, who only talked to schools that wanted him at defensive end. There were plenty that were interested, but Ware made just one visit.
“I liked everything about Delta State,’’ he said. “I liked the school. I liked the city and the coaches and the team. They have a nice campus, and their coaching staff is great. It’s far from home, and I want to experience new things.’’
He will fit in just fine.
His quickness at defensive end left teams in his wake and quarterbacks on the ground. He had more than 30 sacks in his career at Terrell County, where he did it all on the football field. He not only was the leading force on defense, but he also played tight end and was a dangerous receiver. He even carried the ball at times. And if that wasn’t enough, Ware did all the kicking for the Greenwave. He might just be the only defensive end in Georgia who kicked extra points and field goals.
Delta State is going to love his toughness. Ware might have had double-digit sacks last fall if not for a broken finger. He still played hurt, adjusting to a four-inch metal pin in his middle finger that would have sidelined most.
“He’s tough, and he’s a competitor,’’ Terrell County coach William Huff said at the time. “He loves to compete and lives for the game.’’
That’s the kid Delta State is getting.
“The No. 1 goal is for him to leave Delta State with a degree,’’ Huff said. “Their new staff of coaches have a good system. They are known for their high standard of academics. It’s a good situation for Dekoven. And I think he has all the tools to become a standout Division II player.‘’
Ware plans to major in health and physical education and wants to become a coach some day.
“I’m very happy to (get a scholarship),’’ he said. “I’m glad the coaches and my parents and the community kept me focused in school and helped me keep my grades up for this day to happen.’’