Soddy-Daisy High School seniors Matt Jenkins and Ben Kirk signed scholarship papers Wednesday to run cross country and track for Bryan College.
They are the first Soddy-Daisy recruits for the running Lions, who have become one of the NAIA's top programs in Rodney Stoker's seven years as coach. Both said he was the main reason they picked the Dayton school despite conversations with other recruiters, including some in NCAA Division I.
"First, they're great kids," Stoker said. "We had them up to visit, and they fit in really well. And they're really energetic and have a lot of upside."
"Ben has speed and is pretty new to the sport, so he will help us more in the 800 and 1500 at first," said Stoker, who noted that the Lions will lose only top runner Bryson Harper after this year and will have a sizable group of freshmen. "Matt is more of a distance kid, and we know he can handle the training."
Jenkins, the Trojans' cross country and track captain and president of the FCA huddle group the past three years, ran 92 miles one week in the summer of 2010, according to Soddy-Daisy coach Nick Selbo.
"He's kind of like indestructible," Selbo said. "Ben started running in Alabama before he came to us. He's a speed demon."