It’s been more than two months since National Signing Day and for Shoemaker seniors Nahome Anderson and Ziere Banner, the process wasn’t easy.
Banner and Anderson watched for months as other high school athletes around the region and state had their day to don their college attire and make their decision public. But on Wednesday the wait was over.
The Grey Wolves gridiron duo were among 12 athletes to sign letters of intent on Wednesday at the school’s gym.
“Honestly, there was a point after the season where I didn’t have anybody looking at me and I wondered what I did wrong,” Anderson said. “When the Texas State coach contacted me, that’s when I realized I was doing well.”
Anderson signed to play for Texas State while Banner will play for the University of Texas at El Paso.
“This recruiting process has been stressful, as I was told, and I could have signed on signing day, but I chose another route,” Banner said. “This is the best opportunity for me.”
Anderson, Banner, Qwoy Blunt, Laryn Brinkman, Khalil Bryant, Roberto Delgado, Kaitlyn Hunkins, Jonette Jackson, Shane Johnson, Hannah Jones, Aria Price and Daysha Roberts also took part in the two-hour long ceremony in which the athletes thanked those that supported them and enjoyed laughs and tears with friends, family and classmates.
“It’s a great day for Shoemaker High School,” Shoemaker head football coach and athletic director Channon Hall said. “To be a part of the athletic program here is special. A lot of people give Shoemaker a bad rap and this is a testament that great things are happening at Shoemaker High School and everybody needs to know that.”
Anderson and Banner were two of those that helped the Grey Wolves finish 7-4 and make the playoffs for just the second time since the school opened in 2000.
Anderson, a Texas Associated Press Sports Editors all-state wide receiver, knew when he took a trip to the San Marcos campus that it was a fit for him.
“When I went home, I was thinking about it and that’s where I wanted to go,” Anderson said.
Anderson caught 47 passes for 1,216 yards and 13 touchdowns, including a 53-yard score in the Region I-5A Bi-district playoffs against Mansfield Timberview.
Banner made some long runs and passes as Shoemaker’s quarterback and will be going a long distance to become a Miner.
The Sun Bowl is about 587 miles from Shoemaker High School, but Banner said having an uncle in El Paso will make thing easier.
“It makes it a whole lot easier,” Banner said. “I haven’t even met him yet, but it makes the process a whole lot easier because I’m going to be down there with family.”
Banner completed 256 of 432 passes (59 percent) for 2,351 yards and 36 touchdowns. He was the district’s third-leading rusher, finishing with 1,091 yards and 19 touchdowns.
He will move to wide receiver and could catch some passes from Miners quarterback and Shoemaker alum Jameill Showers.
The Miners were 2-10 in 2013, including a 1-7 Conference USA record, but Showers missed the final five games of the season after he suffered a shoulder injury.
Blunt was one of District 8-5A’s top receivers and signed to play for Southwest Oklahoma State University. He will be on the same team as his brother Jammie, a 2012 Shoemaker graduate, who was in the military for two years.
“He’s a big influence on me in my life,” Blunt said about his older brother. “Playing together adds more fuel to me and gives me more hype. I’m ready to play.”
Blunt had 44 catches for 659 yards and six touchdowns, and had two catches for 50 yards in Shoemaker’s first-round playoff loss.
SWOSU is a NCAA Division II school that plays in the Great American Conference.
Johnson signed to play for Western Texas College, a Western Junior College Athletic Conference school in Snyder. “It’s just like a graduation, but for sports,” Johnson said. “That’s really how I feel.”
Johnson was recently named to the Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Game after helping the Grey Wolves basketball team finish second in district.
He averaged 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists per game and was named to the District 8-5A and Killeen Daily Herald All-Area teams.
Brinkam signed to play softball at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, an NCAA Division III school that competes in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.
Hunkins, a District 8-5A first team selection, will play soccer for Howard Payne University, an NCAA Division III school in Brownwood.
Jackson will compete for Sul Ross State.
Jones will play basketball for Neosho County Community College, a National Junior College Athletics Association school in Chanute, Kan.
After finishing his senior season for Shoemaker, Delgado will play baseball for New Mexico Junior College, a NJCAA school in Hobbs, N.M.
“I feel great,” Delgado said. “This is my family and they’re proud of me.”
Price, a District 8-5A first teamer in volleyball, will play for Coastal Bend College, a NJCAA school in Beeville.
“I’m ready to have a new start so I’m glad I can start it at Coastal Bend,” Price said.
Bryant will wrestle for Ottawa University, an NAIA school in Kansas. Last season he advanced to the UIL 5A State Wrestling Tournament in the 182-pound division.
Roberts signed to play basketball with Southwest Texas Junior College, a South Texas Club Sports League school in Uvalde.