By Mike Patton
NASHVILLE, TN — News of young Black men and women coming out of high school and signing to play football and basketball often make the headlines but there are other sports where students excel. There is not much mention of Black kids signing for baseball, track and soccer.
Well, this year there are some kids taking the path least mentioned and going to the baseball diamonds and taking on near by soccer fields. There may be future stars that signed with colleges sitting right among us.
Here are a few Black future stars from the schools around Tennessee that have signed to play baseball, soccer and other sports.
Bishop Quarles, Outfielder, Goodpasture High School
Bishop Quarles has had dreams of playing college baseball ever since he was a kid. And now that dream has been realized, but at first, the school he chose wasn’t on his list.
“Ohio State wasn’t really on my radar at first, but after a few calls, I just knew it felt like home.”
The five-star outfielder from Goodpasture High school is headed to be a Buckeye next year and his parents could not be any prouder. In a sport where there aren’t many Black people, he is making a mark.
While baseball is something Bishop dreams of making a professional career, his father and mother had other goals in mind when it came to picking a college.
Along with Bishop selecting a school, his parents did research on his choice of school.
“We did our due diligence and Ohio State wasn’t the only school that was interested in him but from the beginning, they showed that they wanted him to grow with them. We did our studies on the degrees that baseball players were going for and they ranged from engineering to pre-law. We have two family members who played professionally and they gave us a lot of insight on the process and overall it was amazing because we have a family member that has an opportunity to play at the next level. “
And along with supporting his dreams, Bishop’s mother, Melodye Quarles, is looking at an even bigger picture.
“I want Bishop to be able to get an excellent education along the way. At the end of the day, I want this African-American man to be able to support himself and his family. I want him to understand that he is first and foremost going to Ohio State to get an education although I know his dreams are to make it to the major leagues and I fully support that dream for him as well. Ohio State proved to me that they truly wanted Bishop to represent Ohio State.
Bishop’s dad, Thomas Quarles, along with wanting a solid education for his son, is definitely happy about all the bats and gloves paying off, but he is even more happy that Bishop gets to walk the same campus of an African-American hero.
“Jesse Owens was a student at Ohio State and my son can walk the same grounds that he did and that kind of gave a certain prospective for me. You read about historical figures and your son can walk the same place. “
Janiya Stevens, Clarksville High School
After a decorated high school career, Janiya Stevens is headed to the University of Chattanooga to take on new challenges.
The incoming freshman has been a star in the Clarksville area on the soccer field, scoring the most goals all four seasons while also being a three-time District Offensive MVP and also helping to lead the Clarksville Wildcats to a state appearance in the 2019 State soccer tournament.
In a sport where not many Black women are playing, she stood out and became one of the leaders of the team and along with that, she was one of the stars of her club soccer team.
The daughter of Melissa and DeAndre Stevens, Janiya plans to major in nursing at the University of Chattanooga. While she is planning on getting her education, she also has plans to make her mark on the soccer field and that would be groundbreaking for Black women in Tennessee.
Dimitri Kemp, Hillsboro High School
The senior track runner does sprints and hurdles while competing for the Burros in Nashville, but he will be taking that talent right down the street to Belmont Boulevard in college. Kemp recently signed with Lipscomb University to continue his track career.
Kemp is a versatile competitor and will be bringing that to a Lipscomb team that will need him while staying within the city to compete. While he has not finished his senior season, he has been known a very tough competitor in all that he does and will being that type of ability to Lipscomb as well.
Tyra Nabors, Southwind High School, Memphis
Nabors high school career is coming to an end. The talented hurdler was revered in high school track for all the great things that she could do and that led her to signing with Arkansas State University to run track.
The talent she has shown over her career is undeniable and the work ethic was unbelievable as well. During the pandemic, Nabors has been practicing and even had hurdles at her home to practice her craft. She absolutely loves taking on hurdles and her next one will be in college, where she seeks to be become the best at what she does at the next level.