Winterboro High School senior Dontrell Duncan on Wednesday signed a letter-of-intent to play baseball at Talladega College.
The signing ceremony was held outside the school in Alpine.
Duncan said he initially had planned to attend Alabama A&M, but he didn’t receive an offer. When Talladega College head coach Marcos Dominguez made him an offer, he jumped at the opportunity to play for a college where both Winterboro head coach Alex Johnson and Duncan’s brother, Dion Duncan, had previously played.
“It’s just really amazing just to be able to get a scholarship after all the hard work and the stuff I’ve put in -- the constant grind, the blood, sweat and tears that I’ve put into this game,” Dontrell said. “The constant talk of being compared and people asking if I’m good like my dad (Robert Duncan) and my brother. It’s finally paying off, being able to get that publicity.”
Johnson, in his first year as Bulldogs head coach, said Dontrell was eager to prove himself ready for what lay beyond his final season at Winterboro.
“He really wanted to play at the next level and he made it known when I got here,” Johnson said. “He basically said he’s not going to stop short of getting to play.
“I’m excited for him. I also played there, so seeing someone get to advance their education and go play ball at the next level, it’s always exciting. It’s even more exciting whenever it’s this close to home.”
Dontrell played right field and pitched for a Winterboro squad that had graduated seven seniors from its 2019 team. He guided the team to two of its three wins in a campaign shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I feel like he was kind of gypped during his senior year,” Johnson said. “Obviously, any senior this year was kind of gypped on their senior year.”
Johnson said Dontrell showed his intangible skills during the truncated season.
“He’s a team leader,” Johnson said. “I know it’s not a position on the field, but it is a position I don’t take very lightly.
“(Coach Dominguez) is getting one of the hardest workers that I’ve seen come through Winterboro in a while … He also knows the family and knows what kind of athletes come from this family. They’re nothing short of awesome.”
Prior to transferring to Winterboro before his junior season, Dontrell attended Talladega County Central. He played baseball and basketball with the Fighting TIgers, then played football, basketball and baseball his junior year with the Bulldogs. He stopped playing basketball for Winterboro after his junior year.
Dontrell said having six years of varsity experience in baseball helped his development as a player.
“Basically, it just keeps you grounded,” he said. “It keeps you in that atmosphere of just learning how to lead and actually getting what you need to do learning from the people that were older than you at that time, learning from their mistakes and trying to do better than they did when they were leading you on how to get better as a baseball player.”
He added he plans to study business at Talladega College, and while he doesn’t know where he’ll be lined up for the Tornadoes on the field, he’ll be ready whenever his number is called.
“Anywhere you put me, I will play it,” he said. “I’m a versatile player. I’ll give 110 percent wherever you put me.”