Five Athletes Commit

On April 5, 2022, five athletes from Leesville Road High School committed to their colleges. Anthony Jemerson, Tyler Graham, Ian Westbrook, and Dylan Cosey, football players at Leesville, and Kate Speerschneider, a swimmer at Leesville, all signed to their respective colleges in the multipurpose room. 

The five athletes received offers from scouts after many observations, and for one of them, no observation at all. The athletes are signing to colleges as close as Elon and as far as Central Arkansas.  

Here’s a one-on-one with the five athletes about their journeys to committing. 

Anthony Jemerson 


Anthony Jemerson at Cardinal Gibbons Football Stadium on October 11, 2021, during a football game. Jemerson played the defensive end position during the season. (Photo courtesy of a.jemerson2 on Instagram)

Anthony Jemerson is committed to the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway, Arkansas. He will be a defensive end for the UCA Bears football team.

When he started to play football, Jemerson’s biggest inspiration was his father. “I guess I’ve always tried to one-up him in everything,” said Jemerson. “That’s one thing he always told me. I should always be trying to be better than him.” 

Jemerson’s recruitment journey started when he went to a UCA Bears football camp the last summer. “[I] did pretty good, so I was able to get into contact with coaches over Twitter and just stayed in contact with them,” said Jemerson. 

The UCA Bears recruitment team never visited Leesville to watch Jemerson play. 

Jemerson is from Arkansas, so it’s not surprising that he’s playing for an Arkansas university. But, he made such a good impression at the camp Jemerson just kept in contact with UCA and received the offer. 

Throughout his football career, Jemerson always thought he had the potential for recruitment. “Guys around me and guys that I’ve played against had offers from schools,” said Jemerson. “I always believed I was just as good as them.” 

Tyler Graham

Tyler Graham punting a football on July 10, 2021. Graham played kicker for the football team during the season. (Photo used by permission of Tyler Graham)

Tyler Graham is committed to Randolph-Macon College (RMC) in Ashland, Virginia. Graham will be a kicker for the RMC Yellow Jackets football team. 

Graham was first inspired to play football when he watched Pat McAfee, a former kicker for the New Orleans Saints, play when he was younger. “He’s a great guy and an incredible athlete,” typed Graham over text. “He was my biggest inspiration throughout middle school and high school.” 

Graham’s commitment started when Logan O’Neill, Defensive Line and Special Teams Coordinator for the RMC Yellow Jacket’s football team, came to Leesville. “He talked to a couple of our guys,” typed Graham. “I was lucky enough to be one of them.”

“I stayed in contact and arranged an official visit where I got to go up and see the campus and meet some of the current players at RMC.” Graham fell in love with the campus and program and knew he wanted to commit.

While he always felt he was good enough for a college to recruit him, Graham started putting more effort into kicking when he was ranked #2 in NC. 

“At the end of the day I would love to go pro, it’s been a dream of mine since I was in middle school,” typed Graham. “But for right now all I can focus on is working as hard as I can day in and day out to the best I can be for RMC.” 

Kate Speerschneider 

Kate Speerschneider swims for the YMCA of the Triangle Area (YOTA) swim team and Leesville’s Varsity swim team. Her two favorite events include the 200 IM and the 200 breaststrokes. (Photo used by permission of Kate Speerschneider)

Kate Speerschneider is committed to Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, and will be a swimmer for the Marymount Saints. 

Speerschneider previously conversed with Colorado Mesa University, San Jose State, University of Idaho, Old Dominion University, and James Madison University.

Speerschneider had fun signing the papers for her college, albeit it was ceremonial. “Whenever you sign, you technically sign a fake piece of paper,” said Speerschneider. “You sign online before…[but] it was fun to do it with some football players, so I wouldn’t be doing it alone.” 

Read our previous article about her to go more in-depth in Speerschneider’s story. 

Ian Westbrook

Ian Westbrook (#8) with the ball on August 17, 2021, at the Leesville Road High School football game against Panther Creek. Westbrook played wide receiver for the team during the season. (Photo courtesy of Bob Stewart)

Ian Westbrook is committed to Elon University in Elon, North Carolina. Westbrook will be a wide receiver for the Elon Phoenixes.

As soon as Westbrook started playing football, his mom was his biggest supporter. “[My mom] has been there every practice, every camp I’ve ever been to,” said Westbrook. “She hasn’t missed one. Even being a single mom, she still did everything I’d wanted her to.” 

Ben Kolstad, the football coach for Leesville’s team, started Westbrooks’s recruitment process. “Coach texted me one day and he told me to come in and visit and I did,” said Westbrook. “He told me I had a DB spot waiting for me [at Elon], and I couldn’t pass that up.” 

However, Westbrook played as a receiver for the school’s football team, so he was a bit hesitant to take up a DB spot. “I think everything is supposed to work out the way it does, so I just went with it,” said Westbrook. “I’m excited to play DB at Elon this year.”

While like most child athletes, Westbrook wanted to be recruited, he wasn’t sure it would become reality. “Like I said, everything happens for a reason, so I just hoped and prayed it would happen and it did,” said Westbrook.

But, Westbrook’s journey to now was not easy. “I had a few injuries over the past few years. My hamstring, quad, and back, stuff like that,” said Westbrook. “It’s always been bothering me since my sophomore year, but I had to overcome that.

Westbrook also said he’s suffered from people underestimating him based on his height, but he took that as motivation to get better and get where he is today. 

Dylan Cosey

Dylan Cosey (#16) tackled a Panther Creek player on August 27, 2022, at Hamilton Stadium during a football game. Cosey was a middle linebacker during the season. (Photo courtesy of Bob Stewart) 

Dylan Cosey is committed to Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee. Cosey will be a middle linebacker for the Carson-Newman Eagles.

Just like Jemerson, Cosey’s father is the one who helped him get into football. “My dad was my coach, so I think that made it fun in the beginning,” said Cosey. “After that, you know, it was just trying to get better and better every year.”

When he was younger, Cosey always dreamed of being recruited to a college football team and the NFL, but as he grew up, he wasn’t sure how feasible that was. 

“Around freshman [and] sophomore year, you kinda realize that may not be as attainable as you think,” said Cosey. “And then you just have to work harder, and harder and try your best.”

While playing football, Cosey finds his friends and family to be his biggest inspirations. “My friends, we push each other,” said Cosey. “We’re all going to play college football now, so I think that’s just proof in the pudding that we all push each other.”

Cosey found the recruitment process very stressful. “The recruiting process is awful,” said Cosey. “You have to figure out what you want and what your values are and where it feels like home.”

Leesville Road High School wishes all five athletes a successful college and possibly professional careers in their sports. 


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