On Wednesday, the hard work they've put into the Bulldog program helped them reap some big rewards.
Gamble (5-foot-10, 288 pounds) signed a scholarship with Lindsey Wilson of Columbia, Ky. Major (6-2, 225) inked with Samford University, and Bishop (6-4, 280) penned with Jacksonville State.
"They're three of the best kids we've had in my time here, and they're very deserving of what comes their way," Piedmont coach Steve Smith said. "We know they're going to be great ambassadors for our school and our community. They're going to represent Piedmont High School really, really well at the next level."
Gamble made his decision over the weekend. He took a five-hour drive to Columbia on an official visit to see what the Raider program had to offer. He liked what he saw.
"Overall, I like the program they have up there," Gamble said. "They're just now starting out and they're trying to get players. They've only had a program for about three years, so I'd like to go up there and leave my mark. It's going to be fun to hopefully be one of their first best defensive linemen up there. I'm looking forward to showing off a little bit."
Showing off on the football field is something Gamble did well last football season for the Bulldogs (11-1). The four-year starter finished with 66 tackles, including nine for lost yardage and four sacks. He also caused a fumble and recovered two more.
"Marquez is not the type of guy who's going to spend a lot of time partying. He's more of a business-type guy," Smith said. "He's going to take care of business, and he just felt it was the place he could do that. I talked to his mom about it, and they felt like it was place he could go and thrive."
Major made his mark with the Bulldogs at several different positions in his career, everything from running back to defensive back and linebacker. He compiled a 48-6 record over his four years as a starter.
Major led the Bulldogs' Class 3A state championship team in tackles as a freshman in 2009 before earning three straight All-State nods.
Last season, after making the switch back to linebacker, the Alabama Sportswriters Association Class 3A Lineman of the Year finalist led the team with 135 tackles (nine for lost yardage), with five sacks, two fumble recoveries, one fumble caused and six passes defended. He had a season-high 19 tackles in the Bulldogs' lone loss at Deshler.
"It's a dream come true, growing up and seeing all the older guys sign in ninth grade and tenth grade, just waiting for my day to come and just continuing to work hard," Major said. "Just getting the opportunity to play ball and get your school paid for, there's no other feeling like it."
Major has had a firm verbal commitment with Samford since he took an official visit back on Jan. 11. He also had a visit to Tennessee State in Nashville and another lined up with Western Kentucky, but all he could think about was how well-received he was during his visit to Samford.
"I took the one to Tennessee State, and when I got home that Sunday afternoon, I called Coach (Pat) Sullivan and told him I wanted to commit," Major said. "The whole time I was up there (Tennessee State), that's all I could think about was Samford. I didn't even go to Western Kentucky. I felt at home at Samford. That was the place for me."
Smith said Major should fit very well with Sullivan at Samford.
"I challenge anybody in the state to find anybody who accepted his role better than Jamie," Smith said. "It doesn't matter where you play him, he's going to give you everything he's got and he's going to be a leader for your team. He's just a very unselfish kid who didn't mind doing what it took for the team to be successful. He's a perfect fit at Samford, because I think that's the same attitude Coach Sullivan passes on to his players."
Bishop was a three-year starter for the Bulldogs and anchored an offensive line that averaged 395 yards per game last season, including 286 yards rushing. He graded out at 92-percent for the season, allowed no sacks, committed just one penalty and accumulated 86 pancakes in over 500 snaps.
Bishop said he wanted to play college football somewhere close to home and was considering Murray State, but JSU put him back on their radar when Bill Clark was hired as the Gamecock head coach back in December.
Bishop said he jumped at the chance to take an official visit with the Gamecocks when they became re-interested.
"I'm real close to my grandparents," Bishop said. "They've raised me since I was six. They adopted me, so being close to them was very important.
"I was about to commit to Murray State, but Coach Clark called Coach Smith and said they wanted to get me down there on an official visit. On my visit, it was amazing all the camaraderie they had. They brought me in there and welcomed me with open arms. It felt like I was at home. That first night there, I fell in love. I'm ecstatic to play for a program like JSU and a coach like Coach Clark. He's going to do special things down there."
Like Gamble at Lindsey Wilson and Major at Samford, Smith feels Bishop is a great fit for the Gamecocks.
"I think they're getting an absolute steal in Austin Bishop," Smith said. "He's someone whose best football is still in front of him. He has a great work ethic and wants to get better. I think once he gets in a college weight program, he'll really develop more. I think he's a guy who can be an impact player for them down the road."
Smith said Gamble, Major and Bishop have all left a lasting impression for upcoming Piedmont players to follow.
"I think they've left the upcoming classes the hope signing can happen for them too if they do what they're supposed to on the field and in the classroom," he said. "The bigger challenge for them, and I've told every one of them this, is we need some people to go and stay and finish. That's the next step in this process of kids having the chance to play at the next level. It's for them to go and finish their degree and come back to tell the kids at Piedmont 'I did it, and you can do it.'
"It's been a long time since we've had somebody from this school to go off to college, finish and come back to give a testimony on what it was like to go for four or five years. D'Eric Jackson at West Alabama is in his fifth year, and he can see the light at the end of the tunnel for his degree. We make a big deal over signing day, but I'm going to make a big deal when these kids come back with a degree in their hands too, because ultimately that's what they're going for. I feel very strongly these three guys are going to give it all they've got to accomplish that next goal."