By Evan Mohl
The Cove Herald
In front of cameras, media, parents, teachers, friends and teammates, eight seniors from the Copperas Cove football team signed their national letters of intent to further their football careers and continue their education Wednesday.
Troy Vital, decked out in University of Idaho gear, led the Cove contingent.
“It didn’t hit me that I’d be playing Division I football until I signed that piece of a paper today,” Vital said with both parents standing at his side. “I’m just thankful for everything.”
Vital will head to Idaho in June, but said he already got a workout schedule from the Vandals. He’ll suit up as a freshman, but will have to compete against sophomore Deonte Jackson who put up impressive numbers as a freshmen.
“I spoke with Deonte,” Vital said. “We had a good conversation. We talked about having a 1-2 punch and a good combination to help us win.”
Vital chose Idaho because they offered him a chance to play right away and had a criminal justice program. He also enjoyed the small-town atmosphere and said it was similar to Cove.
Wednesday was the first day high school football players could sign their binding letters of intent to play for the college of their choice.
“I’m proud of these kids,” Bulldawgs head coach and athletic coordinator Jack Welch said. “It’s exciting to see everyone get signed and get opportunities to play football and further their education.”
Linemen go to Blinn
Offensive lineman Sean Robertson along with defensive lineman Anthony Gonzales committed to coach Brad Franchione — son of former Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione — at Blinn Junior College.
“I felt like Blinn gave me the best chance to succeed both athletically athletically and academically,” a nervous and excited Gonzales said. “It’s a place where I can start, play a couple of years and then move on to a Division I school.”
Blinn finished last year at 7-3.
“It’s a good program,” Robertson said. “They win games and I think it’s the best JuCo I could have gone to.”
Settled at last
Steven Welch, who anchored the Bulldawgs defensive line in 2007, chose Tarleton State after a rocky recruiting process. He had committed to Stephen F. Austin, but, according to Welch, they reneged the verbal offer.
So, Welch had to do a lot of scrambling at the end. His choices came down to Tarleton, Montana St. and Wofford College in South Carolina.
“Tarleton recruited me from the beginning,” Welch said. “I fit in well and it’s a place I want to be a part of.”
It also helps that Tarleton State is one of the premier colleges in the Lone Star Conference.
Teammates stick together
Offensive linemen Jerry Hill and Thomas Durcan signed with Division III Texas Lutheran University where they’ll be rooming together in the fall.
“I really liked the program and the coaching staff,” Hill said. “And, the team expects to win.”
Both Hill and Durcan will major in kinesiology.
“The classroom size was small, which I liked,” Durcan said. “There’s also good team unity.”
Outside linebacker Joseph Wright and tight end Donel Morrison committed to Trinity Valley Community College. Morrison said he actually might switch positions to halfback or fullback.
“They liked my size,” Morrison said. “I’m open to a position change, especially to fullback. I’d like to run the ball some more.”
Wright will stick on the defensive side.
“I really liked their defensive scheme,” Wright said. “It’s very similar to the one we play at Cove. I fit in pretty well.”
Wright and Morrison will also room together. They’ve had heavy discussions on plasma TVs, surround sound and which game system they’ll purchase for their room.
Contact Evan Mohl at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7564.