As one of the top pass-catching tandems in the Lowcountry over the last two years, Berkeley High School's DJ Chisolm and Dervon Pesnell created nightmare scenarios for opposing defensive coordinators.
Now the football players will take their respective games to the next level, each signing scholarship papers on Wednesday as part of the 2019 National Signing Day ceremonies around the country.
Chisolm, the 2018-19 Lowcountry athlete of the year and a two-time All-Lowcountry first-team selection in football, is taking his talents to Middle Tennessee State. He originally was an early commitment to East Carolina but reopened his recruiting when ECU had a change in coaching staffs.
“After I decommitted from East Carolina I slowed down and took my time,” said Chisolm, who caught 146 passes for 2,291 yards and 31 touchdowns, plus five touchdowns on kick returns, in his career. “I didn’t plan on committing on my visit to Middle Tennessee but once I got there, I was blown away. They care about academics more than anything. They have a 97 percent graduation rate. I want that, I need that.”
Chisolm, at 5-9, 160 pounds, was used in several ways offensively, particularly in the short passing game, while Pesnell, at 6-4, was the downfield threat for the Stags. Pesnell finished with 91 career catches for 1,372 yards and 20 touchdowns.
“DJ set school records as a junior in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns and his numbers were a little less this season because of the emergence of Dervon,” Berkeley coach Randy Robinson said. “DJ drew a lot of double-teams this year and Dervon could win one-on-one anytime. It made for a lot of wins and a lot of fun. We have our work cut out for us replacing those two guys.”
Pesnell had several offers and even committed to Navy before changing his mind after a visit to Campbell.
“It’s great to know that I can go play a sport that I love at the next level. Everybody doesn’t get this opportunity,” Pesnell said. “I want to go up to Campbell and make the most of it. As soon as I got on their campus, I enjoyed my visit and they were very truthful about everything with me. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Also on Wednesday, First Baptist running back Michel Dukes made it official by signing with Clemson. He made his commitment on Saturday. First Baptist teammates Jackson Watson (The Citadel) and Xavion Washington (North Greenville) also signed on Wednesday.
Defensive back Tre Morrison signed with Wingate, joining three of the area’s top defensive players — Davon Gilmore (linebacker) of Fort Dorchester and Cole Phillips (linebacker) and Ben Mitchum (defensive tackle) of Summerville — as Wingate signees.
Wando linebacker Justin Pelic, an All-Lowcountry selection, accepted a preferred walk-on opportunity at the University of Florida. Oceanside Academy had six players sign on Wednesday.
Wednesday's Lowcountry football signings
WR Simms Bennett Oceanside Collegiate Wingate
TE Gibson Marsh Oceanside Collegiate Newberry
RB Zion Coker Oceanside Collegiate Erskine
RB Davon Stuckey Oceanside Collegiate Newberry
DB Dante Campbell Oceanside Collegiate Erskine
OL Donovan Green Oceanside Collegiate Itasca College
WR Walker Coleman Porter-Gaud Middlebury College
PK Jonathan Weitz Porter-Gaud Clemson
DE Tucker Rose Wando Franklin Pierce
OL Drake Peden Wando Erskine
LB Justin Pelic Wando Florida
PK Andrew Weil Wando North Carolina State
DB Huw Meredith Wando The Citadel
OL Jackson Pell Ashley Ridge Wofford
RB Nick Cunningham Ashley Ridge Limestone
LB Cole Phillips Summerville Wingate
WR Andre Banks Summerville Newberry
LB Colby Taylor Summerville Newberry
DL Ben Mitchum Summerville Wingate
LB Davon Gilmore Fort Dorchester Wingate
DB Kevon Gregory Summerville Albany State
LS Cole Collins Summerville Coastal Carolina
LB Jackson Watson First Baptist The Citadel
DE Xavion Washington First Baptist North Greenville
RB Michel Dukes First Baptist Clemson
WR Tyshon Richardson Stall Univ. of Charleston (WVa.)
WR DJ Chisolm Berkeley Middle Tennessee State
WR Dervon Pesnell Berkeley Campbell
LS Steele Judy Berkeley The Citadel
QB Eric Tuttle Berkeley North Greenville
DB Calantrae Morrison Berkeley Wingate
OL David Martin Berkeley S.C. State