Meet the Tepper Scholar Cohorts
The Nicole and David Tepper Scholars Program, launched July 2020, is changing students’
lives for the better in the University of South Carolina’s Department of Sport and
The Nicole and David Tepper Scholars Program recruits the best and brightest sport
and entertainment management students and enriches their education opportunities,
and ultimately their careers. Four incoming freshman are selected each year to be
part of this prestigious scholarship and mentorship program.
Morgan Guynn has proven herself as a leader on the soccer field, on the track and
in the classroom. She earned both academic and athletic honors in high school — maintaining
a 4.2 GPA while taking honors, advanced placement and dual enrollment classes. As
varsity soccer captain, she led her team to the school's first ever state championship.
She claimed another state title as part of her school's 4x400 relay team and made
the state finals on her own in the 55m dash.
Forrest Merrill's love for sports began when his brother introduced him to the NBA.
The wide variety of players with vastly different styles coming together to generate
joy and inspiration for fans sparked his dream to build a career in the sport industry.
His pursuit of that dream drove him to excel as a high school student, maintaining
a 4.0 GPA and earning recognition as a National Honor Society member, an academic
merit award winner, and as a peer mentor. He also volunteered his time and talents
to support nonprofit organizations including the Special Olympics and Alzheimer's
Association and began gaining career experience through summer jobs.
Kios Perrin II
Sports can open doors and unite people from all backgrounds and walks of life, and
that power is what made Kios Perrin a passionate fan and sparked his dream of a career
in the business side of the sports world. Perrin excelled as a high school student
while taking advanced classes and will arrive at USC as a freshman with multiple course
credits already complete. He earned a place in the National Honor Society along with
an award for the highest GPA on his school's basketball team, an academics and athletics
award from the Columbia Urban League, and a Lexington County School District 1 Educational
Foundation award for being in the top 10% of his senior class.
Brianna Watts begins her college career with a resume that would already be the envy
of many. Her stellar academic performance in high school (4.589 GPA with numerous
advanced placement and dual enrollment classes) earned her the College Board's National
African American Recognition Award, the AP Capstone Diploma Award and the AP Scholar
with Distinction Award, among others. She was the Wake Forest Summer Program Sports
Marketing Institute Project Winner, principal violist for the Phoenix Youth Symphony,
Colorguard and Winterguard captain, president of the Cary High School Black Student
Association and Cary High School Student Ambassadors and Town Representative for Cary
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Todd Hardy is from Spartanburg, S.C., and as a high school student, he served as student
body president and football team captain. He was elected for Palmetto Boys State,
a career development program for young men interested in learning more about government
and politics. He also volunteered and worked while in high school, including a job
at a local sport complex and restaurant. Hardy has enjoyed sports as a player and
a fan throughout his life, and as the time to make a college decision approached,
he learned he could turn that passion into a career.
Sydney Rhue’s academic performance would catch the attention of any college recruiter,
as she was named an AP Scholar of Distinction in 2021. She served for two years on
the Dutch Fork High School Student Council and also volunteered at Harvest Hope Food
Bank. She also served as a member of the house of representatives for the ALA Palmetto
Girls State mock government. Her interest in the dynamic of players and management
led her to choose sport and entertainment management as her major.
As a student at Airport High School, Jeremiah Smith was selected for the National
Society of High School Scholars, received the Columbia Urban League Young and Gifted
Award in 2022 and was also selected for the Myrdis Walker Scholars Program. He has
been active in his community, volunteering as an assistant coach for the Kountry Boys
7on7 football team and participating in the Swansea Mentoring Program. With a passion
for football, Smith set out to channel his love for the game into a career on the
business side of America’s most popular sport.
Kelsey Smith, a native of Mechanicsburg, Pa., is a hard worker who loves school and
graduated with an outstanding GPA. She served as a cheer coach for Cumberland Valley
Youth Cheerleading Association for three years and also held part-time jobs with Target
and a local firework wholesaler while earning her high school diploma. They sparked
her interest in business, and taking a class in sport and entertainment management
marketing as a high school sophomore led to her choice to focus on that field as she
prepared for college.
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Jake Brown comes to South Carolina from Groton, Massachusetts. Brown has a passion
for sport management and dreams of a front office career with a team in the U.S. or
The San Juan, Puerto Rico native will be living on the mainland for the first time
and coming to South Carolina from a very small all-girls school. Her dream is to
become a leader in the sports industry, while also opening the doors for more inclusion
Competing as a DECA club member in high school helped Hannah Margeson step outside
her comfort zone to focus her interest in sport and entertainment management. The
Virginia native hopes to follow USC alumni she met during a visit to the Washington
Capitals marketing offices.
Every day since the beginning of her junior year in high school, Simmons, a New Jersey
native, started her morning by looking at Google images of the USC Columbia campus.
She would then write a note and repeat aloud her mantra: “I will be a student at USC
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Maddi McLean is a person who never stops. In high school, the Maryland native competed
in three sports and was a member of five clubs and four honor societies. She did it
all while earning a 4.2 weighted core GPA and earning an Academic Scholar Recognition
Award along with her admission to South Carolina.
First-generation student Jordan Mooring is also coming to South Carolina with a specific
career goal in mind: to be an NFL agent. Mooring knows she will need to stand out
to succeed in a very competitive, and historically male-dominated field, but life
has taught her to gain strength from challenges.
Devon Watson comes to South Carolina after graduating as valedictorian of his high
school in McDonough, Georgia. Playing soccer all four years while maintaining that
level of academic excellence required him to cultivate time management skills, and
he also found a determination to raise the bar.
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