Football players tend to be creatures of habit, so this spring has been different for Kyle Boutte, Tyrese Taylor and David Temple.
While the 2014 Killeen Kangaroos football team has been on the practice field running drills and making tackles, the seniors have been participating in other sports, wrapping up school work and looking for a spot on the next level.
“I was anxious at the start of the season, so I trained hard and did what I needed to do on and off the field,” Taylor said.
But their dreams finally came to fruition. Surrounded by friends, family and classmates, the trio of Roos made their collegiate commitments Friday morning at the Killeen High gym during a signing ceremony.
Temple and Boutte will remain teammates at Howard Payne University in the fall while Taylor will play for Oklahoma Panhandle State.
With graduation less than a month away, the three used Friday’s signing ceremony as one of the last, if not the last, time to celebrate their football careers and reminisce about their time as Roos.
“We’re all happy that we get to sign,” Temple said. “We get to play a sport that we all love.”
Killeen head football coach Sam Jones said the signing gave the three a well deserved honor and, in addition to being talented, the three also worked to get this opportunity.
“These are real special kids,” Jones said. “They are hard workers in the classroom, hard workers on the field and I just can’t say enough about their work ethic and how they just kept getting better from the first day all the way to when they were seniors.”
Taylor, a tight end, helped pave the way for running back Daniel McCants to rush for more than 1,600 yards by accumulating 12 pancake blocks. The future Aggie finished off a two-point conversion and had three receptions for 13 yards.
He said that once he took a trip to the Goodwell, Okla., campus, he knew it was the place for him.
“I could see myself going there,” Taylor said.
OPSU is an NCAA Division II independent that went 4-7 last year. Fellow Roo Devyn Williams committed to OPSU during National Signing Day in February.
Temple and Boutte are headed to HPU, an NCAA Division III school based in Brownwood that competes in the American Southwest Conference. The Yellow Jackets were 4-6 last season, including a 2-4 ASC mark.
Temple, a linebacker, had 59 tackles in 2013, including two for loss. For him, HPU offered more than just a chance to play football again.
“I’m going to Howard Payne mainly for academics,” Temple said. “I want to do accounting and business so Howard Payne is a more low-key school with less people. They’ll be able to focus on me and teaching me what I need to learn.”
The signing ceremony wrapped up Boutte’s hectic, but rewarding week. On Saturday, he helped the Killeen boys relay team win the silver medal in the Class 5A boys 400 relay at the UIL Championships in Austin.
Boutte missed last football season, what would have been his only one at the varsity level, after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee. The signing was a culmination of hard work to get back to athletics.
“After not playing my senior year, I get to showcase my talents to them,” Boutte said.
Boutte last played in 2012 when he was a quarterback on the junior varsity team and completed seven of 14 passes for 65 yards.