AMERICUS - With three seniors completing their final rounds for 10th-ranked Georgia Southwestern this spring, head men's golf coach Andrew Danna knows he must reload to remain a top program in the country.
He believes he as done just that.
Danna recently signed Matthew Whittaker and Matthew Mell for the 2012-13 academic year.
Whittaker, a sophomore at Western Texas College in Snyder, Texas, is ranked 23rd in the National Junior College Athletic Association in scoring average (72.46) and is tied for 10th in subpar strokes per round (4.08) this fall. He finished second at the 66-player High Country Shootout in Ruidoso, N.M. on Sept. 25-26 with a 13-under par 203 that included a final-round 65.
In 2010, Whittaker finished 20th at the NJCAA National Championships at Odessa (Texas) Country Club.
A Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada native, Whittaker has qualified for the Alberta Amateur tournament the last two summers, shooting the low round (72) in 2011 at Olds Central Highlands Golf Club.
He holds a 3.25 grade point average at Western Texas.
Mell is completing his senior year at Calvary Day School in Savannah.
He is coming off a very successful junior campaign for the Cavaliers that culminated with a runner-up finish in Class A at the Georgia High School Association state tournament and an All-Region First Team selection.
Mell was a 2011 All-Greater Savannah First Team honoree after earning a Second Team selection as a sophomore in 2010. He has been the team MVP for three-consecutive years.
Over the summer, Mell tied for fifth in the 16 to 19-year-old division of the three-round Southeastern Junior Golf Tour Championship in Opelika, Ala. and in the summer of 2010 was the Georgia Southeastern Sectional Champion.
Mell excels in the classroom as well. He has a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
Current GSW seniors Craig Gibson, Chris Hall and Casey Hicks look to leave the program on top for Whittaker and Mell as the Hurricanes, ranked 10th in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf NCAA Division II Coaches' Poll, return to the links for the spring season on Feb. 17 at the Frito Lay AT&T Intercollegiate in Philadelphia, Miss.