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NATIONAL SIGNING DAY: Herald People’s Choice POY Hurley heads to Benedict

Surrounded by friends and family, Lee County star running back/wideout Kenneth Hurley smiles after signing his national letter-of-intent with Benedict College during a ceremony Wednesday in the Trojans’ gym. (mike.phillips@albanyherald.com)

Surrounded by friends and family, Lee County star running back/wideout Kenneth Hurley smiles after signing his national letter-of-intent with Benedict College during a ceremony Wednesday in the Trojans’ gym. (mike.phillips@albanyherald.com)

LEESBURG — Kenneth Hurley is ready for Benedict College.

He even has the wardrobe.

Hurley dressed in a deep purple shirt and a yellow tie and even made sure his mother, Shedra Thomas, and his father, Benny Thomas, had on purple shirts, too. Other members of his family were wearing Benedict’s purple or yellow colors Wednesday when Hurley signed his letter-of-intent to play at Benedict, where the Lee County tailback hopes his quickness and ability to catch the ball will make him a star.

He was a rising star this past season at Lee, and he was a big reason the Trojans, who went 7-4 and advanced to the Class AAAAA state playoffs, had one of the best seasons in the school’s history.

Hurley rushed for 1,233 yards (8.5 yards a carry), made 38 receptions for 657 yards and accounted for 2,160 yards, counting returns.

He scored 23 TDs and had two two-point conversions. He was also The Herald’s People Choice Player of the Year, an award handed out after an online vote by area football fans at albanyherald.com.

He was all smiles Wednesday.

“They all wanted to be color-coordinated,’’ Hurley said of his family’s fashion statement. “I wanted to wear (Benedict colors) and they did, too. We all wanted to be a family.’’

Hurley, who has a 3.0 GPA, plans to major in sports medicine at Benedict, which is located in Columbia, S.C.

Benedict is in the same conference with Albany State, so Hurley will be playing in a game in Albany every other year, but that’s not why he chose Benedict, where they run the spread offense.

“He got a great package from Benedict,’’ said Lee County coach Dean Fabrizio, who runs a wide-open offense that was perfect to show off Hurley’s talents. “We couldn’t be happier for him.

“He will be a great fit for their offense. Kenny is a slashback, a running back and receiver. He has quickness and good hands to catch the ball. He has come a long way from being a 115-pound freshman.’’

Hurley started in the secondary as a sophomore, moved into the backfield as a junior and then took off as a senior as Lee County’s No. 1 weapon on offense.

“I left it all on the field my senior year,’’ Hurley said. “Hopefully, I will succeed at Benedict. I have high hopes. They run the spread offense. They have already told me they want to use me as both a running back and receiver.

“I’m really happy to be going to school there. When I visited there, I just fell in love with the campus and liked the coaches and the staff. It just felt like home.’’