Florence lineman Christian Gomez wasn’t going to let his days of wearing purple on the football field end once he played his last game for the Florence Buffaloes last November.
Gomez made his college commitment official on Tuesday when he signed a letter to play for Mary Hardin-Baylor.
“Not too many people from Florence get to play football after high school,” Gomez said. “I guess I just wanted to be different. I wanted to do what not many people can do.”
Gomez will join the NCAA Division III perennial power and looks to stay on the offensive or defensive line.
The Crusaders were ranked No. 3 in the final NCAA Division III polls and advanced to the national semifinals for the second consecutive season.
Gomez said he became sold on UMHB after taking a visit to the Belton campus.
“I loved the campus there when I went to visit,” Gomez said. “I loved all of the coaches there and I loved the football program. I loved how they run everything there, it feels perfect for me.”
As a senior in 2013, Gomez played all five positions on the offensive line and served as anchor of the unit. He was also the lead blocker for most of Florence’s rushing plays.
Gomez’s play helped him earn a spot on the District 13-2A, Division I all-district first team.
Former Buffaloes head coach Paul Smith came to Florence when Gomez was in the eighth grade.
Smith said he instituted a weightlifting program in the middle school football level and that helped the eventual 6-foot-3, 275-pounder develop into a physical presence up front.
“He took to that like a duck takes to water,” Smith said. “He never looked back in that regard.”
Although there are still more than five months until preseason camp opens in Belton, Gomez said he’s already excited about the opportunity to strap it up next season.
And playing in front of more than 7,000 people in a stadium that was opened less than a year ago is something he can’t wait for.
“I have dreams about it,” Gomez said. “It’s awesome, it’s incredible and for a D-3 to have such a nice stadium like that, it’s amazing.”