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Americus-Sumter lineman Eric Aldridge signs with Charleston Southern

AMERICUS – Eric Aldridge’s mother, Krystal Heath, was dead-set against her son playing football, but on the morning of Thursday, February 20, she was so glad he did. Aldridge, a senior left tackle on the Americus-Sumter High School Football Team, signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his education and play football at Charleston Southern University (CSU).

“It has been absolutely a journey. I would have never thought that we’d be standing here signing for football. Eric has always loved basketball,” Heath told the crowd gathered inside the ASHS Media Center. “When Eric told me he was going to go and play football, he and I had a really hard time. I did not want my son to play football.”

Heath went on to describe how Aldridge had snuck into football practices at times because she was so against him playing football. “I didn’t want my son out there. I just did not want it,” Heath said. “One day, he came home and said ‘Mama, I’ve got this’. He said ‘I got this’. Heath went on to say that Aldridge told her that he wanted to try and prevent her from having to pay any more college tuition, being that his 21 year-old brother is already in college. “That has stuck with me and he told me ‘I’m going to do to make sure that my mama don’t have to pay for me to go to school’ and he did it and I’m so proud of you Eric. You did it.”

Americus-Sumter left tackle Eric Aldridge (51) blocks his defender duri8ng a game.
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In addition to being recruited by CSU, Aldridge was also recruited by schools such as Georgia State, South Alabama and Mercer University, just to name a few, but chose to play for the Buccaneers. “I chose Charleston Southern because I felt it was a good fit for me and my career and where I’m headed,” Aldridge said.

Aldridge will be joining another player from Sumter County who recently signed with CSU. A week ago, Southland Academy running back Clay Owens signed his National Letter of Intent to play for the Buccaneers.

Aldridge addressed all of his teammates, coaches, teachers, family and friends who were there to witness his signing. “First, I would like to thank God, my Mom, Dad, everybody who helped on this journey,” Aldridge said. “I want to thank my teammates, the O line, everybody…the coaches, administrators, especially Coach Mercer yelling at me every day.”

Americus-Sumter High School Principal Kimothy Hadley thanked the crowd fro coming out and celebrating Aldridge’s signing. “We’ve watched Eric over the years. We know the hard work that he has put in,” Hadley said. “It doesn’t go without notice that he is well-deserving of this opportunity. Along with his classmates, who have already signed, Eric is going to have the opportunity to play Division I Football.”

Aldridge said that his most memorable experience about being at Americus-Sumter was scoring a touchdown in the Panthers’ 47-32 victory over Northside (Columbus) on October 17, 2019.

While at CSU, Aldridge will be majoring in Business and if professional football is not an option after graduation, he would like to get a job in the Advertising industry.